11 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, says it has become necessary that the lawmakers “immediately” begin work “earnestly” on the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper to ensure passage by the end of the week.
Saraki said this in his message at the opening session of the Senate on Tuesday, during which he noted that 2016 was “a very challenging year.”
He said, “In this way, consideration and debate on the 2017 budget will immediately follow in the three ‘sitting days’ of the next week. It is our hope that we will, with this budget, begin the implementation of the report of the Committee on Budget Reforms, which has since submitted its report.
“This will enable more Nigerians to participate in the budget consideration process, deepen the review and create the necessary efficiencies we expect from our budget implementation.”
According to Saraki, as long as Nigeria’s economy remained in recession, “our work is not done because our people are still being laid off.”
The Senate President added that “So long as factories are closing shop, for as the hardship in the land continues to bite harder, investment continues to dwindle and the foreign exchange market remains fragmented, I will be demanding even much more from us to get all our economic reform bills passed.
“Ideally, we would like to see them pass together with the 2017 budget. Let me, therefore, urge all our committees involved with our priority bills to double efforts to ensure that by the end of the first quarter of this year we will have these bills ready.”
While reiterating the importance of making the 2017 budget “the most successful budget we have ever passed,” Saraki said it was equally important to emphasise the need to have the budget back on the desk of the executive on time for implementation.
He said, “As you may be aware, based on the recommendations of the Budget Reform Committee, we are working towards ensuring that budgets are prepared and submitted timely so that implementation will follow a regular fiscal circle.
“In this regard, the National Assembly will not tolerate agencies of government not submitting their budgets within the budget period. This is why I urge all agencies yet to submit their budgets to do so quickly as budgets not received within time may have to wait for the next budget circle.”
According to the Senate President, the budget is the most critical instrument within the public context for economic reordering.
He describes it as “an effective tool to stimulate the economy, ensure an even distribution of development across the country and give the ‘Made In Nigeria’ initiative the impetus to survive, and in the long term sustain itself.”