Out of the sixteen government agencies comprising ministries and parastatals in which the index performance benchmark test were carried out by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, nine have failed the test.
The nine MDAs listed out yesterday are, Federal Ministry of Lands and Housing, Transport, Health, Women Affairs, Science and Techonology ,Aviation, Finance, Water Resources and Education said to have in keeping to policy based budgeting.
The index was developed with inputs from different Civil Society groups, Professional Associations and government agencies following a survey conducted on their activities. It is a flagship assessment of how MDAs at the Federal level have complied with the provisions of these laws, policies and regulations using the locally developed index.
Presenting the outcome of its finding in Abuja, Programme Coordinator, Economic Governance, of Open Society Initiative for West Africa [OSIWA], Mr. Amenaghawon Idahosa said that in terms of Policy-Based Budgeting Sub-Index, the Federal Ministry of Works followed by Trade and Investment, Mines and Steel, Environment, Agriculture, Power, Youths Development, Lands and Housing, Transport, Health, Women Affairs, Science and Technology, Aviation, Finance, Water Resources and Education in that order applied policy based budgeting.
He added based on evidence from the Second Sub-Index which looked at budget Comprehensiveness and Transparency, it showed that apart from Ministry of Environment , no other selected MDA crossed the benchmark line , which according to him showed that the MDAs cannot be said to be budget comprehensiveness and transparency compliant.
“The findings corroborated the latest result of the country in the 2015 Open Budget Index where Nigeria scores 24 out of 100 points in budget transparency”, he argued.
In terms of Budget Credibility, he noted that being the third Sub-Index, only one MDA[Aviation] scored higher than the benchmark recorded in the study period.
“With regards to the Fourth Sub-Index on Budget implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation, the results show that apart from the Federal MDAs such as Agriculture, Lands and Housing as well as Youths Development for the period of the survey, other selected MDAs have scores below the Index benchmark”, he said .
Continuing, Idahosa said that, “interesting is the fact that evidence from the survey shows that in the Sub-Index benchmark of Accounting, Recording, Reporting and External Auditing, most MDAs had scores above the index benchmarks”.
“Assessing the role of the Finance Ministry in the preparation of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, [MTEF], survey evidence within the study period shows that of all the provisions, the Ministry was able to perform two [fiscal strategy paper contains an expenditure and revenue framework as well as the MTEF submitted on time to the National Assembly for consideration] out of 10 roles to a maximum point”.
In his remark, Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice [CSJ] Eze Onyekwere said that the index product is a collaboration between his organization, the FRC with funding support Open Society inintiatives for West Africa [OSIWA], which all about the improvement of fiscal governance in Nigeria.
He said the Index aimed to achieve some objectives which include, “apply a domestic framework of indicators and indices for monitoring and assessing the level of fiscal prudence across federal MDAs, to produce baseline empirical data and statistics for assessing the identified indications and indices as well as promote the use of the fiscal responsibility report in identifying, designing and implementing reforms.
In a welcome address, Acting Chairman, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Victor Muruako said that of recent, there has been a renewed call for government agencies to promptly, remit their operating surplus to the consolidating revenue account.
“Since it began operation in 2009, the commission had made remittance of operating surplus by MDAs its battle cry, such that it has induced payment of over N367 billion operation surplus by MDAs to the consolidated revenue fund as at August, 2015” stressing, “Such unprecedented achievement can only spur us to do more”.
He said that the commission has gone further to research and come up with a new template for determining operating surplus for scheduled corporations adding that in due course, meeting of relevant stakeholders will be convened to brainstorm on the new template.
“The realities of our present economic situation has made it imperative that every other revenue generating Agency of government is brought into the legal obligation to remit their operating surplus to government coffers beyond those listed in the schedule to the Act so as to shove up government’s revenue base”, he said.