The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Monday, inaugurated Budget Reform Committee of the Senate, with a charge to it to review budget processes in the country.
Saraki expressed concern that budget processes over the years were marred with several irregularities, leading to inadequate implementation of approved estimates.
He said that the establishment of the committee was informed by the need to chart a new course for effective implementation of future budgets.
“One of our major functions is the passage of the annual budget. Over the years, the National Assembly and executive have expressed dissatisfaction that come with the budget.
“Following the last budget exercise and in line with our legislative agenda, we are taking a decision to review the budget processes and see how best we can improve on it.
“This is not new but the only difference this time is that we hope we will be able to complete it.
“It has been said in the past that we have not been able to review our budget processes. It is my belief that the 8th National Assembly will make this happen.
“It is a fact that annual budgets are yet to be fully aligned with our development goals, from conceptualization, approval, to implementation.
“ There is a need to continue to reform our budget for continuity and efficiency, hence the need to revisit the process.’’
Saraki said that government operations were less susceptible to corruption and abuse when predictable, transparent and accountable.
He urged the committee to come up with a Budget Bill that would create a road map for timely passage and implementation of the budget, among other things.
“It is expected that the committee will work within the time frame to come up with a budget bill that close the structural and procedural gaps that will lead to transparency.
“A bill that will design the legislative framework to provide for effective oversight of budget accounts.
“A bill that will find efficient timelines for the entire budget process and to enable the National Assembly to adequately interrogate the budget bills before passage.’’
Responding, Chairman of the committee, Sen. Ali Ndume, assured that the committee would work within the time frame to come up with a budget bill that would address all the concerns raised by Saraki.
“As at now, the executive does whatever it likes with the appropriation and we here sometimes, do not know what to do.
“I assure you that we will make sure we carry the executive along and even the judiciary if need be, to give it a legal perspective.
“What we have done today is very critical and the committee appreciates and thank you for the good initiative,’’ he said.
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