Senate to hold roundtable on budgeting process



The Senate on Thursday mandated its committees on National Planning, Finance and Appropriation to organise a roundtable with all agencies in budgeting process to come up with a robust national planning and budgeting process.

The Senate notes that the roundtable will guide the future development of the country.

The resolution was sequel to a motion sponsored by Sen. Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) during plenary.

The motion is entitled “The need to Establish a Visionary Budget-Driven National Planning Framework for Nigeria” and was co-sponsored by five senators.

Moving the motion, Oduah explained that in the last years, Nigeria had developed several national development plans with a focus on strategically improving the socio-economic status of the country and the lives of every Nigerian.

According to her, these plans and strategies include the Transformation Agenda, National and State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS I and II and SEEDS).

She said that these national plans were aimed at the socio-economic development of the country with a focus on wealth creation, poverty reduction and long-term Vision 2020 statement.

She added that the Vision 2020 statement was that by 2020, Nigeria would be the 20 largest economies in the world.

Oduah raised concerns that in spite of an incremental growth in the nation’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Income (GNI) over the years, the average Nigerian had experienced little or no change to their socio-economic status.

She further said that there was an urgent need to identify and eliminate the obstacles that had posed a problem to the successful conceptualisation and implementation of previous national development plans in Nigeria.

Supporting the motion, Deputy Chief Whip, Sabi Abdullahi, said that what had been lacking in the budgeting process was a clear legislative intervention.

He also said that lack of political will was another factor that had militated against national planning.

“This is the reason for the quantum of abandoned projects which are in trillions of naira. It is the lack of political will that has not allowed us to bring to bear those projects,” he said.

Sen. Aishatu Dahiru (APC-Adamawa) said that the motion if approved would be of necessity for the country to tackle the myriad of problems that had threatened the fabrics of Nigeria’s existence.

“This challenge is responsible for the insecurity in the country,” she said.

Sen. Solomon Olamilekan (APC-Lagos) said that there was a bit of challenge regarding the implementation of the budget as the resources available to implement the budget were inadequate.

“There are a lot of funding issues. We need to find alternative sources to fund budgets,” he said.

Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege who presided over plenary opposed the position of some of the senators that leaders lacked the political will in driving the budget process.

“It is a serious and clearly important motion. We are not bereft of ideas, we have the resources to fund our budget,” he said.(NAN)