IMF Director, Eva Jenkner visits Fiscal Responsibility Commission

IMF Director, Eva Jenkner visits Fiscal Responsibility Commission
November 22 13:22 2023 Print This Article

The Director of, African Regional Technical Assistance Center for West Africa 2 (AFRITEC West 2) Eva Jenkner paid a one-day working visit to the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) at the Commission’s office in Abuja.

Eva Jenkner said that IMF has a long-established collaboration with the Commission and explained that the purpose of the visit was to appreciate how far the Commission has been able to utilise the earlier support provided by AFRTEC West 2 and ascertain the next steps to take for better results.

According to her, AFRITEC has been in some African Countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Sierre Loan, Liberia etc for the past ten years.

In his response, the Chairman, of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Victor Muruako Esq said that the Commission has always looked forward to the assistance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) essentially for human capital development of our workforce considering the crucial nature of the Commission’s assignment and the ever-growing need to be in tune with contemporary issues and appreciated the IMF for considering the Commission in some of its recent programmes in Nigeria.

According to Muruako, the Commission benefited from virtual training on Public Finance Management which was undertaken by the African Regional Technical Assistance Center for West Africa 2 (AFRITAC West 2) in 2022. That programme which was anchored by Mr. Kubai Khasani was indeed very enlightening and practically exposed our staff to more effective Public Finance management strategies.

He gladly expressed that appreciated the Office of the Honourable Minister of Finance for facilitating these programmes. It should be recalled that the then Honourable Minister, of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed approved for the Commission to receive technical assistance from AFRITAC West 2 (AFW2) in two areas namely, Fiscal Risk Management; and Development of Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)

FRC Boss said the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow for the support to commence until 11-22 April 2022 with the Virtual Training for the Chairman, Management and key staff. This was followed by an in-country mission by the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department held from 16-30 August 2022.

After the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) mission, eight key recommendations as well as timelines were made to the Commission to strengthen its position as an independent Fiscal Council.

Muruako enumerated measures to achieve the legal mandate provided by the FRA, the Commission was to undertake as follows:

• Create technical working groups drawn from all Directorates to focus on the main areas related to the mandate of the Commission: (i) revenue forecasting and analysis, (2) expenditure analysis, (3) fiscal risks analysis, and (iv) public debt sustainability analysis. A capacity development program will support the groups.

• Reorganize its structure and specialize its staff in core areas of its mandate. Structural changes could take time, especially in the absence of the Commissioners. However, there is no obstacle for the management to organize the technical staff according to targeted outputs.

• Undertake a proactive approach to gathering information from public institutions and implement a networking plan with research and think tank institutions in Nigeria and abroad.

He summarily mentioned the technical Committees created by the Commission for greater results in fiscal policy operation.

Create technical working groups specialized in different aspects of fiscal policy monitoring and provide them with regular training.

Prepare and prescribe a budget execution format for reporting the 2022 budget execution by the Budget Office of the Federation.

Update the macro-fiscal forecasting accuracy dataset for conducting regular assessments of macro-fiscal forecasts.

Design a networking plan with research and think tank institutions in Nigeria.

Enhance visibility by timely updating the website with analysis, macro

-fiscal forecast assessments, and information related to budget implementation.  Establish protocols and templates and enter into collaboration agreements with public institutions for information sharing.
Review the governance structure and align it with the mandate and functions in compliance with the FRA 2007.
Establish a Fiscal Risks Registry to support the analysis of the MTEF and annual budgets.
In line with the above, he said, “Six technical Working Teams were constituted namely: Macro-Economic Coordinating Team, Revenue Forecasting Team, Expenditure Analysis Team, Public Debt Sustainability Team, Fiscal Risk Analysis Team; and Macro-Fiscal Forecasting Database Team
He applauded the Teams for undertaking Fiscal Policy Monitoring of the MTEF/FSP and Budget Review and Analysis for years 2011-2021 and the Teams have a harmonized Report as well as individual Team analyses which are in the process of being made into products for circulation to the public and stakeholders.
He further said that the Commission also benefitted from a 5-Day Public Private Partnership (PPP) training on assessment and Reporting on Fiscal Risk from PPP Projects organized by the Ministry of Finance and hosted by IMF/AFRITAC West 2.
He commended the staff of the Commission for having commenced putting to use the technical knowledge shared by teams.
He expressed his wish for better collaboration and plans follow-up training to the FRC in 2024 as well as other interventions during the years 2024/2025.
He pleaded with IMF team to continue to support the Commission and to assist them in delivering on their very important mandate of ensuring a transparent and accountable government financial management framework for Nigeria.
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