Senate President Seeks Budget Cycle Legislation, Amendment Of Procurement Act

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Friday, reiterated the need for a budget reform that will include a law on timelines in the budget passage.
Speaking on “Government Meets Business Dinner” of the Institute of Directors Annual Conference on Thursday in Abuja, Lawan said timelines and deadlines will give leaders focus and make them more definite on deliverables.
Lawan, who spoke on “Reforming the Budget Cycle: A First Step in Our Journey to the Next Level,” expressed the belief that Nigeria’s “budget cycle if there is a law on timeliness for budget passing.”
Reports, according to the Senate President, have shown that countries like the U.S, Canada, Austria, Brazil, France and India have more definite budget cycles through legislation.
A statement by Ola Awoniyi, Special Adviser (media) to President of the Senate, quoted Lawan as saying: “We have resolved to be reform minded in the ninth National Assembly and improving the budget cycle is one area of focus.
“Our attention will be on the areas where enhancements are needed and we are surely not going to look away from them in the interest of national growth, development, and wellbeing of our people,” Lawan said.
The Senate President said it is also important to improve on database showing the social-economic conditions of the country, adding that such would enhance better appreciation of financial projections.
This, he continued, is notwithstanding the current efforts by the National Bureau of Statistics and some multilateral agencies showing the sectoral performances of the economy.
The Senate President also called for the amendment of the Public Procurement Act 2007 adding that “we are of the firm belief that the Act has not provided the intended efficacy it should produce.”
“Related to this is the need to match budget projections with fund release if accountability is to be appreciable.
“Proper documentation of financial activities and reduced political Interventions in the budgetary process are additionally important steps to follow.
“We should try to reduce frivolous items on the recurrent expenditure list to increase our disposition to produce, ensure judicious expenditure process and to guarantee value-for-money,” Lawan said.
Recall that at the screening exercise for the final batch of ministerial nominees on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, Dr. Lawan, stressed the desire of the ninth National Assembly under his leadership for a return to the January-December budget cycle.
Investdata research shows that the earliest time Nigeria’s annual budget was signed into law since 2008, was in 2013 when it was assented to on February 16; followed by March 10, 2009 and April 14, 2008. The longest time it took was the 2018 law, which was signed on June 20.

Photo caption: President of the Senate and Special Guest, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (right) with President and Chairman of Governing Council of the Institute of Directors, Chief Chris Okunowo, during the dinner of the Institute of Directors in Abuja on Thursday, September 26, 2019.
Photo credit: Senate President Media Office