An International Monetary Fund (IMF) capacity development mission has visited Nigeria in a strategic move to support the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) in establishing a Fiscal Monitoring Framework (FMF) for the country.
The FRC is the agency saddled with the mandate of promoting a transparent and accountable government financial management framework for Nigeria.The IMF intervention came as the Commission continues to clamour for the amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA 2007) in order to strengthen the nation’s public finance management system.
The IMF team led by a Senior Economist in the Fiscal Affairs Department of the Washington-based multilateral lender, Sybi Hida, spent two weeks with the management and technical staff of the Commission during the intensive programme.The latest support by the IMF was the second mission to the Commission this year alone, the first being a one-month training of over 30 FRC senior staff delivered virtually by IMF’s AFRITAC II.
That capacity-building programme formed the basis for the latest intervention.In a statement, the FRC Head of Strategic Communications, Bede Anyanwu said the IMF mission to set up a Fiscal Monitoring Framework followed the approval of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.
Impressed by the significance and content of the IMF support programme, the FRC Chairman, Victor Muruako was quoted to have said: “We have come to the conclusion that amongst all manpower development support and interventions that the Commission has enjoyed since its establishment over a decade ago, this IMF Mission is certainly the most impactful, combining elements of strategy meetings, organisational self-discovery sessions, training and ecosystem development.
“This is, literally speaking, the template which the Commission never had at its inception.”He recalled that at inception, the Commission was handed a novel mandate without corresponding templates, guidelines, handover notes or depth of access to requisite manpower development, adding that the staff, being pioneers in the fiscal responsibility monitoring and enforcement space, found themselves doing the work of both visionaries and operators.
Muruako added: “Oftentimes, the scenario looked like we were building an airplane while at the same time, flying it. Thank God, we have been successful at both.”
He lamented the fact that in spite of the many achievements of the Commission, it still encounters stakeholders that appear to be finding it difficult to understand where and how to accommodate the Commission in the public finance management ecosystem.
He stated that FRC is a fiscal reform organisation that has had to use hard work and integrity to break through the fog and deliver on its mandate, which is unique and not a duplication of any other agency’s as assumed in the report of the Orosanye Panel.
Reflecting on the phases that the Commission had passed over the years, the FRC Chairman noted that the Fiscal Responsibility Commission has been very well received by citizens and the federal government alike since its establishment over a decade ago.
He posited that the use of legislation to moderate the behaviour of fiscal agents and replace discretionary powers with fiscal rules, ceilings and timelines is reckoned in all decent circles as most proper for a fiscal environment that has suffered considerable abuse.
Muruako appealed to the National Assembly to conclude the amendment of the FRA 2007, which went through public hearing in the Senate over a year ago, pleading that it would place the Commission in a better position to support fiscal policy sustainability and straighten public finance management in Nigeria.