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Fiscal Responsibility Commission Holds Sensitization Workshop in Calabar

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission has held a 2-day Awareness and Sensitization Workshop on Transparency and Accountability for States in the south-south in Calabar the Cross River State capital.

In his opening address, Prince Victor Muruako, the Executive Chairman of the Commission, said the workshop aims to instill a culture of collaboration by the civil society, media and officials of the FRA in the South-South states and to sustain the improvement in good fiscal practices by subnational governments, while seeking ways to build on enhanced fiscal coordination between the federal and subnational governments which have been achieved through the State Fiscal Transparency and Accountability (SFTAS) program.

Muruako added that it is the result of some of the collaboration that has led to many states having their budgets online and having citizens participation.

“It is pleasing to the Commission that our efforts in over a decade to get states and local governments in the Federation to, at the very least, involve their citizens in the development and monitoring of their respective budgets and implementation thereof have finally yielded fruit through the push of the SFTAS programme.

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“We are elated to note that all states of the south south geopolitical zone have their annual budgets available online. Even their Audited Financial Statements and Budget Performance Reports are also not only published online, but they are also actually all published according to specifications and within specified time frames. More amazing is the fact that the improvement in transparency has even reached the Local  Government level such that some states like our host state, Cross River, have published  the 2021 Audited Financial Statements of all their Local Governments. It is almost miraculous. But then, so is the power of fiscal coordination,” He said.

Also speaking, Barrister Charles Abana, Head of Legal Investigation and Enforcement of the commission  tasked public officers to see government as a platform for service and to do their due diligence to help it reach its goal.

Abana held that the situation where procurement officers leave their jobs for contractors is sad and something that should be done away with, adding that public funds saved will at the end benefit everyone.

Also speaking, the Cross River State Auditor General, Mr. John Odey, welcomed the team to the state and praised them for the SFTAS program which he said the state has followed thoroughly, publishing its budgets and audited accounts.

Earlier in goodwill messages, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Cross River State – Tanko Ashang (SAN) said Fiscal Responsibility in democracy is important especially in the transition from one administration to another, calling all hands to be on deck.

Participants at the program were drawn from the anti-graft agencies – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission; the media, Civil Society Organizations, state and non-state actors, Auditor-Generals of States in the south-south region of the country and among others.