Senate calls for sustainable budget implementation

By Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate has urged all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to ensure that they put in place a sustainable plan on how to implement the budget in order to achieve its objective.

It is the belief of the Senate, that while the Legislature is finding ways to accelerate the passage of the appropriation bill, the Executive should make efforts to remove all bureaucratic bottle necks that often impede on the smooth implementation of the budget.

Senate President Bukola Saraki gave this advice on Tuesday while unveiling the renewed media center of the Senate Press Corps in Abuja. 

He identified two key areas that require priority attention for the budget to be implemented efficiently, noting that the legislators were already considering those issues especially in the area of government’s procurement process.

“It’s very likely that we would come out with an amendment bill as regards certain areas of the procurement law and that is something that would come out very soon, to see how we can assist the Executive to see that the budget is implementable.

The second area is the issue of funding the deficit, and I am happy that the Minister of Finance was speaking about that because that’s another area that, even though we do all our part with regards to passing of the budget, funding the deficit is key to ensure that the ability to raise those funds is there.”  

He observed that Nigeria at this point in time, has no other option to its economic re-engineering, than to be less dependent on crude oil revenue which the 2016 budget proposal has demonstrated. According to the Senate President, “the success of the budget is less on the bench mark of crude oil price but more dependent on non-oil revenue and independent revenue.”

“If N830bn is coming from crude oil revenue and it’s only 23% of the total budget, so even if the price goes up or down, we are not really so much vulnerable,” he said.

Senator Saraki also appealed to Nigerians to cooperate more with the present government, even as he frowned at the situation where individuals were consistently persecuted for the mistakes of the previous governments.

“Look, we have all been here since 1999 where things were not done right, we were all part of it even though we were not in the National Assembly at that time but we were all Nigerians. We must realize that things have changed with time, and there is increased participation in this democratic process as all of us have agreed that things have to be done differently.

So I think it’s a more of cooperation, encouragement and participation, as opposed to trying to hold one person responsible for the mistakes of the past that we were all part of but it is now clear that doing it right now is the way forward.”