President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Ahmad Lawan, said the ninth Assembly is not only concerned about the timely passage of the budget but also deeply concerned about its implementation.
Lawan, flanked by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila and principal officers of both chambers, spoke at the National Budget Hearing on the 2020 Federal Government Budget which began on Wednesday at the National Assembly.
“If you are taken 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in 2020, in ten years it will be one hundred million. We want to see the plans by the relevant or responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government on how the 2020 budget will be able to take 10 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“We want these to be measurable targets. We are not going to be asking for stories. We are going to be asking for facts.
“So, we are going to task the MDAs that in this year budget we will not wait until 2021, give us targets that are measurable which we can evaluate after every quarter.”
The Senate President also cautioned on the continued reliance on borrowing to fund the infrastructure needs of the country but instead suggested a Public Private Partnership (PPP) option.
“If we have to borrow, we should borrow. Where we can avoid borrowing because there is another opportunity, we should take that opportunity that has a lesser burden,” Lawan said.
Lawan is also in agreement with the suggestion for the resuscitation of the long term national planning programme.
“I agree that the long term national economic programme is useful. We had it before, it worked for us better. We stopped it and we have seen the consequences.
“So now that we have a minister that thinks that we should go back to that process and we have a National Assembly that is prepared to ensure that this country does better. We should hit the ground running.
“I am not aware of any request for legislation but if it is the desire or necessity that we legislate, this National Assembly will work with the government to ensure that we legislate on the national economic development plans,” Lawan said.