The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has revealed that the Red Chamber will commence debate on the 2017 budget document next week.
Saraki who spoke on Tuesday when the Senate reconvened after a 3-week Christmas break, also revealed that the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) will be passed Thursday.
Saraki assured that Nigerians will be carried along throughout the process of budget consideration by the relevant committees of the Senate.
He noted: “It is therefore imperative that we immediately begin work earnestly on the MTEF to ensure passage by the end of the week. In this way, consideration and debate on the 2017 budget will immediately follow in the 3 “sitting days” of the next week.
“It is our hope that we will with this budget begin the implementation of the report of the Committee on Budget Reforms, which has since submitted its report. This will enable more Nigerians participate in the budget consideration process, deepen the review and create the necessary efficiencies we expect from our budget implementation.”
The Senate President reiterated the need to ensure that the 2017 budget is well scrutinized in order to pass the most successful budget in the history of the National Assembly.
He said: “The National Assembly will not tolerate agencies of government not submitting their budgets within the budget period. This is why I urge all agencies yet to submit their budgets to do so quickly as budgets not received within time may have to wait for the next budget circle.”
Decrying the hardship in the country, Saraki urged his colleagues to double their efforts in ensuring that economic reforms bills currently before the Senate are given speedy passage.
“Distinguished colleagues, as long as our economy is still in recession, our work is not done. Because our people are still being laid off; so long as factories are closing shop, for as the hardship in the land continues to bite harder, investment continues to dwindle and the foreign exchange market remains fragmented, I will be demanding even much more from us to get all our economic reform bills passed.
“Ideally we would like to see them pass together with the 2017 budget. Let me therefore urge all our committees involved with our priority bills to double efforts to ensure that by the end of the first quarter of this year we will have these bills ready,” Saraki added.
By Ehisuan Odia….
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