Post COVID -19: FRC flags off retreat to avert impending recession

By Our Reporter

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has commenced efforts to fashion out ways for the government to utilize available resources and avert impeding economic recession resulting from the COVID 19 pandemic.

The Acting Chairman, FRC, Victor Muruoko said this on Monday in Abuja at the commencement of a 3- day management retreat tagged,”Promoting Prudence, Accountability and Economic Stability in a Post COVID -19 Economy.”

According to the Chairman, the 3 – day retreat is aimed at brainstorming to find ways to properly manage the lean resources of the country for the good of the citizens.

He pointed out that in 2019, Nigeria recorded a growth of 2.2% which IMF forecasts from 14th April 2020, that the GDP is expected to fall to -3.4% in 2020, due to the outbreak of the COVID 19, and pick up to 2.4% in 2021, subject to post – pandemic global economic recovery.

Muruako noted that Global Growth as at June 24th, 2020, is projected at 4.9% in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below the April 2020 World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast.

“Our aim target is to explore those thorny areas that have challenged prudence and accountability as well as economic growth with a view to holistically address them with as a means of substantially reducing cost of governance and mobilizing the much needed revenues from Government Owned Enterprises (GOE).

“Obviously, the COVID 19 pandemic triggered a public health crises in Nigeria, a situation that was quickly followed by instability . The drastic drop in oil price, Nigeria’s major source of foreign exchange, only complicated the situation.

“While other countries could offer huge palliatives, Nigeria is challenged by lack of funds and yet plagued with worsening inflation rate and security challenges.

“The IMF had predicted a global recession expected to exceed 3%. What is Nigeria’s response to all of these plethora of questions.

“Our situation is critical and it means that we have utilize available resources and ways of putting them into good use so that the economy will not be allowed to fall to the predictions of international financial institutions,” he stressed.

The FRC Chairman insisted that only if only government can implement the Commission’s recommendations of reigning in more government owned corporations in the schedule of the FRA, 2007, there might be no need for government to go borrowing to fund the budget.

He stressed the need for the government to add more agencies to the net of payment of Operating Surplus.

According to him, all government organizations generate funds one way or the other, but they equally spend on items that are unnecessary while government continues to seek for loans to fund its budget.

Muruako noted that the increase of the 31 corporations in the schedule of the FRA, 2007 to another 92 as recommended by the commission have made it possible for the GOEs to pay in over N1.7trillion to the consolidated revenue funds.

He said this amount is far less than the N5.8billion government invested in the commission comprising, overhead, capital expenditure and personal for the past 11 years of commission’s existence.

He however, decried the fact that these funds were hitherto spent by these agencies without tracing through unorthodox accounting systems and all forms of financial manipulation.

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