• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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House of Reps chooses national budget as first stage of reforms

3 bills pass second reading, 5 motions receive consideration as Reps resume plenary

The House of Representatives has chosen National Budget Reform as the first stage of its reforms efforts to ensure greater accountability, improve budget implementation and achieve some level of certainty in the process.

The Green Chamber emphasised that the government’s intention to deliver on the promise of infrastructure development, meet the challenges of insecurity, provide the citizens with quality education and reposition economy for growth, will not be met until stakeholders succeed in developing and implementing a budget framework that adheres to the best practices of effective budget policy.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who stated this Tuesday in his remarks at the Pre-inauguration Dialogue Session of the National Budget Reform Roundtable in Abuja, said reforming the appropriations process is an important component of the agenda of the 9th House of Representatives.

Gbajabiamila, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, explained that, the National Assembly Reform Roundtable (NARRT) is one of the platforms the House intend to use to drive the process of reform across critical sectors from healthcare to education and the economy, national security to social justice and social welfare.

He observed that reform efforts, no matter how well-meaning or well-intentioned, would often fail when there is insufficient support from the stakeholders and from the wider community.

According to the Speaker, NARRT exists amongst other reasons to serve as a vehicle for consensus building, driving engagement and collaboration so that the reforms proposed in the House can get the support of the stakeholders. He stressed that without the stakeholders, all efforts at passing the plan into law, and subsequent implementation, would fail.

“The power of the purse, the right and responsibility to manage government expenditure through the appropriations process is the central power of the legislature. It is this power that makes all else possible.

“I am pleased that we have assembled such a distinguished group of capable individuals, bringing knowledge and expertise from different backgrounds to deliberate on the subject,” he noted. “It is my expectation that this dialogue session and other engagements that follow would birth ideas and strategies for implementation that if followed conscientiously will deliver a budget process that is wholly reformed, and thoroughly effective in delivering outcomes that serve the best interests of the Nigerian people,” he added.

He urged the team to be ready to make “hard choices” in the pursuit of an honest reform agenda. To accomplish this, he asked the members to be prepared to challenge established practices, and not shy away from questioning prior assumptions.

The Speaker further said that the 9th House of Representatives assumed office with a commitment to conduct holistic reforms of key sectors of the Nigerian economy to better ensure that government lived up to its responsibilities to the Nigerian people.

He assured that “we promised, and we will deliver on our commitments to remove regulatory and policy bottlenecks so that businesses can thrive, and our economy can attract new investment from within and outside our shores”.