Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has tasked the various standing committees of the National Assembly to ensure full implementation of the 2016 budget through effective use of their oversight duties.
Giving his remark during the plenary after the passage of the 2016 Appropriation Bill by the Senate in Abuja, the Senate President also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure an effective implementation of the budget, while also calling on the President to ensure an early presentation of the next year appropriation bill to the National Assembly.
He also pledged that the Senate would immediately commence the amendment of the Public Procurement Bill currently before the National Assembly as a way of aiding the effective implementation of the budget.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant to the Senate President on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, the Senate President said, “The budget reflects efficient and equitable allocation of resources to reduce the challenges that we are all aware of. This budget is a product of bipartisan engagement, commitment and patriotism.
“It gives me great joy to commend and appreciate all the efforts that all of you, my colleagues, have put in. It is the duty of the Executive arm to ensure full implementation of this budget as part of the campaign to bring succuor to our people. While implementing it, we charge the Executive to also consider the need to support locally produced goods in order to help our economy.
“We have all seen the earlier hiccups in the beginning of the budget and we hope that by the time we are preparing the 2017 budget, the Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the Budget Office would improve their level of interaction. We also hope that government itself would bring the budget much earlier to give ample time for the legislature to do its job. It is very important that we do this.
“I will also thank the Appropriation Committee and, of course, we have all noted the areas of omission and I hope the Executive will be able to address the different areas that we talked about.
“I also particularly observed that we have made an effort to reduce the size of the budget, in our own view, to reduce our deficit and also reduce our level of borrowing and as much as possible we all want a budget that is sustainable.
“We have played our part; the different committees should do their job now in the area of oversight to ensure that we have a budget that is fully implementable.
“Nigerians have been waiting for us to pass the budget; I think at this time too, the implementing agencies should ensure that they get to work quickly in implementing the budget. We on our part have one or two bills to consider like the Public Procurement Act so as to assist with easy implementation of the budget.”
He commended the Senators for a job well done, despite the earlier hiccups encountered when the 2016 Appropriation Bill was presented last year.