N'Assembly considers bill to establish Budget Office

By The Citizen

The National Assembly is planning to establish a Budget and Research Office.

A bill sponsored by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, to that effect has already scaled first reading on the floor of the upper chamber.

According to the proposed bill, the National Assembly Budget and Research Office shall exist to 'provide independent and continuous review of the Federal Government budgets including monitoring of existing and proposed programmes. (It shall also) Provide independent unbiased analysis of the budget of the National Assembly and assist all the committees of the National Assembly in developing their annual budgets.'

Other functions of the proposed budget office include providing assistance to all committees in both chambers of the National Assembly including information with respect to budget and all bills relating to new budget heads.

The office is also expected to furnish information with regards to estimated future revenue and changing revenue conditions.

Other functions of the bill include to 'provide analysis of the economic implication on the private sector, the budgetary and financial implication on states and local government of any proposed legislation when so required by any committee of the National Assembly.'

The Budget Office would also be expected to prepare and present to the National Assembly, periodic forecasts of economic trends and alternative fiscal policies.

It would also avail the Legislature of cost estimates including an analysis of the inflammatory impact of any proposed legislation.

In addition, the office will report yearly to both chambers of the National Assembly all items funded in the preceding financial year for which no appropriation was made by the National Assembly and items contained in the Appropriation Act in the preceding financial year, but which were not funded by the Federal Government.

According to the bill, the office will be managed by a governing board which will comprise a chairman and six members representing each of the six geo-political zones and a director-general and three ex-officio members.

Chairman and members of the board will be appointed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Moreover, the chairman and members of the board, excluding the director-general and ex-officio members could be removed from office by simple majority votes of each house of the National Assembly.