By Raphael Ekpang
A Bill for an Act to Repeal and Re-enact the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 on Thursday passed second reading at the Senate.
The bill which was first read on the floor of the Senate on November 6, 2019 was sponsored by Senator Aishatu Dahiru (Adamawa central). The Act seeks to provide for prudent management of the Nation’s resources, ensure long term macro-economic stability of the National economy.
Leading the debate, Sen.Dahiru said having operated the Act for a decade, a number of issues are pertinent in assessing the effectiveness of implementation of the provisions of the Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) as it’s enforcer.
She argued that the bill if pass to law seek to channel expenditure of the state towards provision of public goods, infrastructures, social and economic services; and to premise government spending on a credible expenditure management framework.
Justifying the bill, she said there is need to repeal and re-enact the existing Act because “there are observed deficiencies that render implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the Act too administrative especially without clear cut punitive measures.
“This is further compounded by the disposition of successive governments and agencies towards the FRC in the discharge of its functions as spelt out in the FRA”.
Senator Dahiru added that the bill will deepen implementation of FRA across the federation through the establishment of a Fiscal Responsibility Council (FRC).
She therefore urged her colleagues to support the bill.
Meanwhile, lawmakers took turn to support the bill, starting from Sen. Abikunle Amoseun, Ogun Central) who seconded the motion and urged his colleagues to support the bill because if passed to law, he said Nigeria was going to get it right in Fiscal Responsibility Act.
He also noted that anything that is of best practice like the bill is worth supporting.
Sen. Adamu Aleiro, Gershom Bassey, Rochas Okoracha among others also speak in favour of the bill.
The deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege who presided plenary on Thursday refereed the bill to senate committee on finance for more legislative work and report back in four weeks.