BUDGET: HOUSE TO ENSURE ADEQUATE IMPLEMENTATION
House of Representatives has stressed the need for adoption of effective budgeting procedure that will ensure adequate implementation and clear impediments associated with inefficient budget.
Rising from a three-day retreat held simultaneously in Kano and Uyo, the House members, in a joint communiquÃ© issued in Kano yesterday, signed by House Leader, Tunde Akogun, and made available to THISDAY, expressed regrets that for so long, major stakeholders have been kept in the dark on issues affecting budget preparation.
'At present, there is no proper consultation of broad spectrum of stakeholders in preparation and implementation of the budget. This is clearly why the budget is usually implemented selectively. Therefore, there is the need to determine all assumptions and benchmarks in relation to the budget, including target setting and assessment of previous targets,' the communiquÃ© partly read.
The House also agreed that there was need to put in place a National Assembly Budget Office for collation of figures on all indices that have to do with budget matters.
The retreat entitled “Budget Tracking: Use of Software for Monitoring and Implementation,” also discussed issues bordering on constitutional review, noting that the National Assembly must fall back on laid down procedures before engaging in constitutional amendment.
According to the communiquÃ©, a vibrant constitutional review would need to possess the political will to carry it through, adding that there was need to build a viable consensus, as well as winning the peoples' patience in the process.
The communiquÃ© read in part: : 'For us in Nigeria, the people have spoken repeatedly that they support constitutional reform to entrench our federalism and deepen our democracy, our legislators should listen to them. Constitutional review is important, because the present constitution was bequeathed by the military without a thorough process of consultation to create ownership.'
Chairman of the retreat planning committee, Tunde Akogun, said by so doing, 'they can enter the annals of our history as heroes of democracy,' pointing out that the National Assembly should make laws that would bring about evolution of a credible electoral system for Nigeria, so as to leave behind a lasting legacy for democracy.