Accountability in use of public funds will prevent reckless borrowing, says Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the house of representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has disclosed that the national assembly will ensure that government institutions are accountable in the use of public funds.

This was stated on Monday by Gbajabiamila at a public hearing organised by the house of representatives committee on finance to consider the 2021 finance bill.

The speaker, who was represented by Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader of the house, said if funds must be borrowed, they “should be on concessional terms or at relatively low-interest rates and subject to the rigours of legislation”.

Gbajabiamila said the lawmakers will scrutinise the 2021 finance bill to ensure that it reforms the finance system and blocks revenue leakages.

“Essentially the 2021 finance bill seeks to introduce strategic and broadminded, positive reforms that will engender best practices, statutorily check borrowing by local, states and federal government, enhance transparency and accountability in the administration in various strata of tax and public revenue generation, while at the same time guaranteeing the interest of the investing public and businesses,” the speaker said.

“It is instructive to state that the essence of the 2021 bill is to further reposition our finance system to block wastes, close openings for corruption, create opportunities for employment as well as stimulate stability and growth in our productive sectors, within the wider context of our quest for economic recovery in our country.

“Given the democratic credentials of the house of representatives under my watch as well as the need to further deepen the credibility of the process through wider participation of stakeholders, this stakeholders meeting has been designed to give Nigerians and critical stakeholders in the industry the ample opportunity to own and drive the process.

“In this hall, we have very proficient professionals and experts, who as stakeholders, investors, development partners and interest groups have submitted memoranda and are ready to make contributions to the bill.

“It is on this backdrop that I charge this stakeholders meeting to extensively scrutinise the templates in the bill in the general interest. We must strengthen the institution to strategically check reckless borrowings by ensuring accountability in the use of borrowed funds and ensuring that the borrowings shall be on concessional terms or at relatively low-interest rates and subject to the rigours of legislation.”

Gbajabiamila asked the stakeholders at the event to consider “issues of chargeable gains as they affect individuals and companies in some of the proposed laws so that we will achieve our aim to enhance transparency, accountability as well as engender a credible and favourable business environment for growth in our economic productivity”.


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