…tasks MDAs on accountability, timeliness
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the National Assembly would “ensure exhaustive consideration” of the 2022 Budget and remained committed to the timely passage of the appropriation bill as it did in the last two years.
Gbajabiamila noted that the next two to three months will be for the strictest scrutiny of the budget estimates and emphasised that lawmakers would hold government agencies accountable for the previously appropriated funds.
In his remarks at the budget presentation before a joint session of the National Assembly, Gbajabiamila recalled that upon inauguration, the 9th Assembly committed itself to pursue long-awaited and critical reforms to the appropriations process for better delivery on the promise of national development.
“Over the last two budget cycles, by the joint effort of the executive and legislature, we have made significant progress in this regard and achieved reforms that will stand the test of time and count in our favour,” he noted.
Gbajabiamila noted that while working to deliver the previous budgets, the lawmakers worked: “Through the day and night, forgoing all other considerations in a joint effort to deliver a national budget that meets the highest expectations of the Nigerian people.
“Therefore, I am confident that the National Assembly will give this appropriation bill the prompt consideration it demands.
“However, let me use this opportunity to say to the heads of ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria that the determination of the National Assembly to deliver a timely budget will not derogate from our responsibility to ensure exhaustive consideration of the Bill.
“We will demand a thorough accounting for the funds previously appropriated, disbursed and expended. And we will take steps to hold to account those who fail to provide the records we need to make informed decisions on the appropriation bill. This is the responsibility of the National Assembly, and we will live up to it.”
The Speaker noted that the reforms introduced by the 9th Assembly in the appropriations process, including establishing a January to December budget cycle, improving oversight procedures, and ensuring greater fidelity to the letter and spirit of our appropriation laws, have led to measurable improvements in public infrastructure, access to education and housing, healthcare and transportation, amongst others. According to him, these improvements have had a positive impact on the lives of millions of Nigerians across the country.
He said innovations in technology, the changing nature of global trade, the challenges of cross-border insecurity and the increasing interdependence of nations have continued to “present challenges we must overcome and opportunities we must embrace.”