The Presidency on Thursday commended the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki. for initiating the reform of the nation’s budget process. It said the executive fully supports the move.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Udoma Udo Udoma, according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Sanni Onogu, disclosed this during the formal presentation of the report of the Technical Committee on the Budget Reform Process in Nigeria, inaugurated by the Senate President on July 25, 2016.
“This initiative of Your Excellency, the Senate President, is an initiative that has the full support of the executive,” Udoma said. “We believe that the budget and the budget process is something that we have to work on together closely and collaboratively.
“Consequently, your initiative to look at the reform of the process is an initiative that we welcome and which was why the Director-General of the Budget Office, with my authority, participated fully in the deliberations.
“As the Senate Leader indicated, the success of any budget depends on very close collaboration between the executive and the legislature. I believe that this process that you have embarked on and the reforms will help to smoothen some of the issues that arise from time to time when we are considering the budget,” he said.
In his remarks after receiving the report from the Chairman of the Technical Committee and Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, described the report as one of the most important exercises of the Senate so far, while commending the Committee for complying with the stipulated time frame for the exercise.
Saraki also commended the Minister of Budget and National Planning for his participation in the processes that led to the report, saying, “I think as a country, what we are doing today is long overdue for us to have reviewed the budget process. I think we are truly building a solid foundation for the years ahead.
“I agree that the recommendations require the review of certain laws, but I think there are some of them that have to do with processes. I think we can immediately begin to implement those that have to do with processes.
“As we all know, for many years, this has been an area of acrimony and disaffection between the two arms of government which is mainly due to ambiguities in some of the laws and processes,” Saraki said.
The Senate President specifically noted the recommendation in the report dealing with the pre-budget participation of the public in the process as he said: “there is really very little participation of the public in the process”.
“We have public hearings on so many things but the most important law that we have to pass, has a very little participation of the public. I am happy it was captured in this report that even when we do the review of the budget, the public should also participate,” he stated.
Earlier, Senator Ndume noted that the low development indicators and lackluster performance of the economy, in general, are not unconnected with inefficient and ineffective public financial management and budgeting in particular.
He noted that the broad objective of the exercise is to address the pitfalls and challenges in the budget process and significantly improve formulation, enactment, implementation, monitoring and evaluation with a view to improving budget performance and development outcomes.