The Nigerian Senate has declared the year 2016 as a year of transparency and delivery for the Federal Legislature, stressing that it will adopt stronger measures to ensure that the 2016 budget is thoroughly interrogated and swiftly considered to ensure prudence, fairness, integrity and timeliness.
President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki made the declaration on Tuesday during his opening remarks to welcome the lawmakers back from their Christmas and New Year recess.
He expressed hope that the period of recess just concluded afforded the Senators more opportunity to reflect on the enormous task of substantially enhancing the economic well being, liberty and safety of Nigerians, as they enter into the business end of delivering on the agenda of the 8th Senate.
“Distinguished colleagues, let me use this opportunity to thank all of us for the bipartisan manner in which we have continued to carry on our legislative duties; the togetherness, commitment and resolve exhibited so far and the bipartisan support extended to the Executive towards anti corruption and the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), which has brought some sanity in the revenue system, to the approval of the 2015-2018 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy as well as the passage of the 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Act.
These are all testament to the seriousness and patriotism with which we have conducted ourselves. We must now build on this throughout 2016.
Though the problems we face today bite painfully, I firmly believe that they present us a unique opportunity to rebuild and transform our economy into a diversified, modernized and competitive economy. It all starts with the 2016 budget and the priority bills we have resolved to pass”.
Victory over terrorism
The Senate also commended the military and other security agencies for recording tremendous success in the fight against terrorism in the north east region, and overall security of the country. It noted that the untiring efforts of the security operatives are the reason for the increased tranquility evident in recent time.
According to Senator Saraki, the legislature will be working together with the leading of the Executive to begin the process of rebuilding the Northeast and rehabilitating the traumatized victims of terrorism in Nigeria.
“Distinguished colleagues, as you already know, our priority bills have been carefully chosen and adopted to enable us lay out the legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks that would plug leakages in the revenue system, create jobs, expand economic opportunities, diversify the economy and make Nigeria a key investment destination of choice for investors.
We must on our part deliver on these priority bills that will impact on these sectors that are the engine of growth. We must also show a sense of urgency on these bills. We must have a business-like approach to our deliberations. We must treat statutory reports more seriously by ensuring that we fully consider them as required by law.”
Constitution review committee
The Senate President also announced that the ad-hoc committee on constitutional review set up in December 2015 would be inaugurated on Wednesday this week.
He urged members of the committee to demonstrate their commitment to the advancement of Nigeria by sending in their report to plenary for passage on or before the 30th of June 2016.
“It is on this balance of efficacy and accountability that I wish the Senate to be judged in 2016. A Senate in slumber cannot meet the aspirations of a restless nation. A Senate sealed from those whom it is accountable to, cannot legitimately ask for their trust. 2016 must be a year of transparency and delivery!”
Thereafter, the Senators considered a motion on the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in some states of Nigeria, and condoled with the families of Nigerians who have lost their relatives to the disease.