Nigeria’s Most Active Lawmaker, Rt Hon. Sergius Ogun Sponsors Bill To Amend Fiscal Responsibility Act, Proposes Penalties For Offenders

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Nigeria’s Most Active Lawmaker, Rt Hon. Sergius Ogun Sponsors Bill To Amend Fiscal Responsibility Act, Proposes Penalties For Offenders

Rt Hon. ( Barr.) Deacon Sergius Oseasochie Ogun is unarguably the most active federal lawmaker in the 9th session of the National Assembly. The Ugboha-born astute legislator who represents the good people of Esan North-East and Esan South-East Federal Constituency of Edo State in the House of Representatives has sponsored many important motions and bills in the lower chamber of the National Assembly to the delight of millions of Nigerians in general and his very own Agbazilo people in particular.

When the history of legislative excellence is written, Rt Hon. Sergius Ogun’s uncommon penchant for providing legislative elixirs to critical issues which gnaw at the very soul of this country will not be left unmentioned and unacknowledged. Nigerians will not forget in a hurry his famous bill on the need to regulate foreign medical tourism by public officials and the other which seeks to ban children of public officials from schooling abroad. His recent motion urging the federal government to beef up security in Esan Land and establish Army Barracks or Forward Operating Base (F O B) within Edo Central easily comes to mind. So is his motion urging the federal government to rehabilitate federal roads in Esan North-East and Esan South-East. His motion which sought to abolish JAMB registration multiple charges will remain indelible in the hearts of young Nigerians. Needless to add his separate bills seeking the establishment of Federal College of Education Ugboha, Federal Medical Centre Uromi and National Institute of Agriculture Research Oria. The list is endless!

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Find below, Rt Hon. Sergius Ogun’s latest addition to his long list of sponsored bills and motions.

LEAD DEBATE IN SUPPORT OF A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT, CAP F40, LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004 AND FOR OTHER RELATED MATTERS (HB. 1713)

1. PROTOCOL

Mr. Speaker, Honorable colleagues, I have the honour to lead the debate in support of a Bill for an Act to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act, Cap. F40, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (HB.1713).

2. STRUCTURE OF BILL:

The Bill has three clauses. Clause one is the enactment clause. Clause two is the amendment clause of the Principal Act, while clause three is the citation clause.

3. OBJECTIVES OF BILL:

The objective of this bill is to amend the Principal Act so as to make provision for specific sanctions within the Act, for failure to comply with the provisions of the Act.

4. BACKGROUND:
Mr. Speaker and Honourable Colleagues, the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 is a very important legal financial management framework. However, there are no specific sanctions or penalties within the Act for the offence created in subsection 3 of section 41 of the Principal Act. The Act provides for prudent management of the nation’s resources, ensure long-term macro-economic stability of the national economy, secure greater accountability and transparency in fiscal operations within the medium-term fiscal policy framework and promote fiscal discipline. Despite the provision of the Principal Act, Nigeria’s recent Public Expenditure Financial Accountability Report (PEFA Report, 2019), points to the inherent weakness in public financial management. Some of the issues raised in the Report include, low budget credibility, insufficient disclosure of public finances, lack of autonomy of auditor general, amongst others. Whereas section 41 of the Act provides the framework for debt management during every financial year and goes further to provide that non-compliance with the provisions of the section shall make any action taken to be an offence, the Act fails to specifically make provision for the sanctions of the said offence.

5. PROVISION OF THE ACT BEING AMENDED:

Mr. Speaker, the part of the Act sought to be amended is reproduced below:

41.–(1) The framework for debt management during the financial year shall be based on the following rules:
(a) Government at all tiers shall only borrow for capital expenditure and human development, provided that, such borrowing shall be on concessional terms with low interest rate and with a reasonably long amortization period subject to the approval of the appropriate legislative body where necessary; and
(b) Government shall ensure that the level of public debt as a proportion of national income is held at a sustainable level as prescribed by the National Assembly from time to time on the advice of the Minister.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section and subject to the approval of the National Assembly, the Federal Government may borrow from the capital market.
(3) Non-compliance with the provisions of this section shall make the action taken an offence.
6. PROVISION OF THE AMENDMENT PROPOSED:

Mr. Speaker, the amendment proposed to the Act is as follows:

1. The Fiscal Responsibility Act, Cap. F40, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (in this Bill referred to as the Principal Act) is hereby amended as set out in this Bill.
2. Section 41(3) of the Principal Act is amended as follows:

“(3) Non-compliance with the provisions of this section shall make the action taken an impeachable offence and the offender shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000,000 (five hundred million) or imprisonment for a term of three years or to both such fine and imprisonment”.

3. This Bill may be cited as Fiscal Responsibility Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

7. CONCLUSION:

Mr. Speaker and my dear colleagues, this bill when passed into law, would address the lacuna in the Act, obviate impunity and serve as a mechanism for making government officials accountable. I thus appeal to my colleagues to support the passage of this bill.

Yours truly,
Hon. Sergius Ose Ogun

Team Sergius Ogun

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