The World Bank is to support the Fiscal Responsibility Commission in achieving its mandate of ensuring fiscal prudence in governance.
Manuel Vargas, Lead Financial Management Specialist, World Bank, made this disclosure when he led a team on a visit to the FRC on an identification mission on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan on Monday in Abuja.
He said the meeting was to discuss some elements relating to prudent financial management and the responsibility of the commission in achieving them.
Vargas said: “We have been requested by the Ministry of Finance to prepare this new project to give support and capacity assistance at the Federal Government level on areas relating to public financial management, transparency, accountability and national statistics development.
“We have a large team working on this with the aim of coming up with the best possible solution which is a vision we also share.
“We want to emphasise the issue of coordination and implementation and see how this operation can support that.
“We also need to make sure that there is a coordinated approach so that it can be cost effective and impact oriented.”
According to him, at this early stage of the preparation of the project called identification, the bank is visiting relevant government agencies to hear from them and come up with the best way to proceed.
He said that the bank was presently working with and supporting 21 states on public financial management.
The areas of support include: revenue mobilisation, support of tax authorities, budgeting, planning and execution, accounting expenditure control, financial reporting and increase of internally generated revenue.
Other areas of support are: internal and external audit, integrated financial management information systems and public procurement reforms.
Vargas said: “It is a whole spectrum of public financial management and we are supporting them but the level of progress varies from state to state with some making progress while some are lagging behind.
“We will continue to support them with the hope that we can get all of them to an acceptable standard and we are looking at how to collaborate with the FRC to ensure that the support is comprehensive.”
The Acting Chairman, FRC, Victor Muruako, while responding, said the country had recorded remarkable achievements in fiscal responsibility but there was still a room to do more.
He said the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which was enacted in 2007 to promote prudent management of the nation’s resources, helped to reform the budgetary process through the introduction of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
Muruako said the commission was instrumental to the remittance of more than N460 billion into the Consolidated Revenue Fund since 2010.
He said the new standardised template designed by it for remitting operating surplus, would also go a long way in generating more funds into the CRF.
On the ERGP, Muruako said the goal was to achieve economic growth of seven per cent by 2020, adding that the initiative was achievable because there was the political will and determination by the government.
He, however, said that for the commission to be more effective, the amendments to the Act before the National Assembly was sacrosanct to make provisions for sanctions.