Ndubuisi Francis and Kelvin Okofu in Abuja
The acting Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), Mr. Victor Muruako, yesterday raised the alarm that the issue of leakages in revenue generation and remittance in the country had assumed a high dimension, over the last five years.
The development, he said, called for the attention of all relevant agencies of government to devise a workable solution.
In an address he presented at a one-day sensitisation programme organised by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), in Abuja, Murako said the quest for effective blockage of revenue leakages is not pronounced with the slump in oil prices and increasing need for government to deliver electoral promises of providing social and economic infrastructure for accelerated development.
At the sensitisation programme with the theme, ‘Presidential Initiative on Continous Audit: A Tool for Transparency and Accountability in Government Financial Business”,
he alleged that some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), produce two different statements of account in an attempt to manipulate their operating surplus and losses.
According to him, in order to strengthen revenue inflow and block all leakages, government should put in place a revenue strategy or long range plan.
Murako also recommended that since oil revenue contributes a larger portion of the income, it was important for government to pay serious attention to it’s generation by re-engineering the Navy, Marine Police and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to synergise and effectively put a stop to Oil and Gas bunkering, theft and vandalism.
The FRC boss also called for the introduction of cultural and behavioral changes in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to better align the attitude of the staff to the revenue objectives of the government
“At the core of the efforts to plug revenue leakages is revenue transparency which will increase accountability and reduce opportunities for corruption and potential waste of already decimated revenue.
“The principle of transparency requires openness in revenue management with public availability of information on budget preparation and execution. The lack of transparency and accountability in revenue can indeed exacerbate poor governance, corruption, fraud and general low productivity,” he said.
In her address, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, said the federal government has implemented continuous audit through the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit to strengthen transparency in government’s financial business.
She stated that the PICA programme is a variant of the audit process, adding that the continuous approach adopted in its implementation gives it the edge of proactiveness which helps to identify distortions, abuses, violations and errors in the administration and management of the affairs and financial resources of an entity or body at an early stage for prompt corrective actions.
The Head of Service stated that a strategy document had been enunciated for the civil service which creates a civil servant that is efficient, productive, incorruptible and citizen centred in the delivery of service to the populace “The launching of PICA today is another testimony to the fact that this administration is employing not only the stick approach in its fight against corruption, but as well adopting institutional mechanisms that would instill the virtue of accountability in the management of public resources in our trust.”
She urged public servants to put all hands on deck to ensure the success of these initiatives, noting that “the only option open to us as civil servants is to join the change mantra, failing which the individual will have himself or herself to blame.”