The speakers called on the National Assembly to ensure that there are final timetables for the adoption and approval of the annual budget in order to ensure tax security and promote economic growth and development.
They also called on the National Assembly to expedite the amendment of the 2007 Budget Responsibility Act to include enforceable sanctions for civil servants who fail to perform their duties in the preparation and submission on time. wanted from the budget to the legislature at the national and subnational levels.
They made the calls in a 10-point statement obtained at a forum on the constitutional amendment process convened by OrderPaper Nigeria on August 16.
The virtual forum, called OrderPaper Parliamentary Engagement Nigeria (OPEN), was supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) program.
Panelists at the forum were the Executive Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), Mr. Victor Muruako, a former Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Professor Mojeed Alabi and a Chartered Accountant, Mr. Bolutife Oluwadele.
The statement, which was signed by OrderPaper Nigeria’s executive director, Mr. Oke Epia, acknowledged that the irregular passage and approval of the annual appropriations bill at national and state levels of government has caused uncertainty. in the management of public finances and the delivery of public services. services to citizens.
Therefore, the statement noted that the forum asked for clearly defined deadlines.
“It is imperative to institutionalize the timing of the stages of the appropriation bill and the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) that will be achievable and achievable,” observed the statement, saying that this will, to a large extent, help the government. private sector, foreign investors. and citizens in general to make effective economic planning and decision-making.
While noting that “the current cordiality and understanding between the Executive and the Legislature which led to a return to the budget circle from January to December provides a window of opportunity to advance the challenge of the appropriation bill deadlines. Â», The stakeholders demanded an institutionalization of the same.
âThere is a need for enforceable sanctions for those failing officials involved in the process of budget preparation and implementation, which will foster a culture of discipline and accountability.
“In this regard, the current amendment to the 2007 law on fiscal responsibility by the Senate should be quickly concluded by the National Assembly and sent to the President for assent,” he added.
They also referred to âthe effective participation of citizens at all stages of the budget (formulation, implementation and evaluation)â, as this âwould go a long way to fostering transparency and accountability in the delivery of public services.
âThere is a need for a thorough review of budget proposals by national and state assemblies prior to their adoption, which underscores the imperative for timely submission by the executive and subsequent presidential assent.
âBudget execution reporting should be institutionalized in practical terms as a major element at federal and subnational level. It is necessary to recruit leaders who take into account dedicated people with demonstrable capacity for public service
âThere should be more information / citizen engagement on the importance of the budget process and legislative obligations in general
âAccordingly, the OPEN conversations on the Constitution by OrderPaper Nigeria should be continued in order to address topical issues in the constitutional review exercise.