Saraki, Dogara harp on credible budget to exit recession

Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara ((left); Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje during the first National Assembly public hearing on the 2017 budget in Abuja… yesterday.

Centre urges N’Assembly to expunge 64 items of double budgeting

As the National Assembly began a public hearing on the 2017 budget yesterday, Senate President Bukola Saraki has said that the state of the economy has put more pressure on the legislature to ensure a very credible budget process capable of taking Nigeria out of recession.

Noting that Nigeria is at a crucial stage in her national development, Saraki stated that the poor state of the economy is deserving of a credible budget that could stimulate real economic activities, fix our critical infrastructure and provide cushion for the poor and vulnerable.

“The challenge, however, is how best to ensure that the budget is utilised as an effective policy in achieving these,” he said.

The Senate President said: “It is, therefore, in line with this belief that the 8th National Assembly deemed it necessary to bring government, civil society organisations, private sector, and other key actors in the economy to deliberate on the budget proposal.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said that the National Assembly was in the process of amending the constitution to give effect to the reforms being carried out in the budgeting process.

Dogara said: “The reforms being introduced into the budgeting process will ultimately lead to amendment of existing laws, including the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We have keyed into the need to enact a budget process law that will set time frames and activity schedules for all participants. This will require the active cooperation and collaboration of not only both chambers of the National Assembly but the executive branch as well,” he said.

One of the participants, Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere urged the National Assembly to throw out 64 items of double budgeting, unclear and wasteful votes discovered in the 2017 budget.

Onyekpere, who compiled the items, indicted 64 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) for what he called “inappropriate, unclear line items” totalling N151, 536,674,923.

Also speaking at the hearing, former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, revealed that 20 per cent of the currency in circulation in Nigeria is fake.

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