FG Urged to Adhere to Transparency in Public Finance Mgt.

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Oluchi Chibuzor

The federal government has been tasked to ensure transparency and fiscal equity in its drive to utilise public finance.

This is in line with the recently signed Finance Act 2020 and the aggressive tax policy drive of the government.

The charge was given by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) during a recent stakeholders’ dialogue held in Lagos.

Speaking, the Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Musa, said Nigeria’s fiscal regime has been in a near mess with the different news on financial misappropriation on a daily basis, adding that ministries, department, agencies are having field day with issues of financial malpractices.
He said the call was necessary because tax inequalities and massive leakages in the public procurement process and budget implementation creates loophole for misappropriation of public funds.

“The Nigerian economy as at the present is majorly dependent on borrowed resources no thanks to the pandemic excuse and multinational companies are free to practice all available evasive practices with their local collaborators due to lack of oversight.

“Allegation of abuse of public offices and misappropriation of public funds by public office holders is becoming a form of our daily offices in Nigeria. Government must ensure that money generated from tax is adequately used for developmental projects in the country.”

Achieving this, according to a CISLAC’s recent report on ‘Policy Brief on Effective Public Finance Management Roadmap in Nigeria,’ according to him, noted that development and growth experienced by any nation are primarily determined by the efficiency of the nation’s public finance management system.

The report highlighted that government should implement progressive taxation and ensuring that rich persons and companies pay taxes, expand tax base by bringing more taxable Nigerians into tax net through effective reforms, increase tax compliance by rich individuals and companies and including payment of tax on offshore hidden properties, strengthen anti-virus evasion avoidance policies, transfer pricing legislation and measures against tax havens.

However, another report titled: ‘Nigeria Public Finance Management Roadmap,’ looked at budget process, strengthening institutions, laws revenue and tax matters, public procurement, support systems, recommended among others that public sector budgetary system should migrate out of the traditional system to an on-line, real time-based system.