Senate holds 2017 Budget Public Hearing on Monday

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja


The Nigerian Senate will this Monday, hold its first public hearing on the country’s Federal budget starting with the 2017 Appropriation Bill now under consideration by the lawmakers.

According to a statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi, the Public Hearing is aimed at allowing stakeholders and members of the public to make contributions to the proposed legislation before passage by the National Assembly.

Over the past week, the Senate has suspended regular plenary sessions in order to give all committees an opportunity to conduct adequate oversight and for ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government to defend the allocations included in the estimates submitted to the legislature by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The joint public hearing will push the budget defence a step further by allowing members of the public to weigh-in constructively on ways to improve the appropriations bill. “This will be the first time something like this is happening,” Senator Sabi said.

“It’s a testament to the leadership and foresight of the Senate President, and the commitment of the 8th Senate as a whole to ensure that the budget is passed transparently, with adequate feedback from the general public.”

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, stated that the historic public hearing on the budget was aimed at ensuring more citizen-participation in the legislative processes.

“We will continue to create platforms such as this that will allow the general public to play a role in what we do here, moving forward, the public can expect that we will continue this practice of having an open budget hearing where every-day Nigerians are primary contributors,” the Senate President said.