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Bill to cause passage of budget by November 30 getting ready

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The National Assembly is now at the crucial stage of passing a landmark bill that will not only amend the 58-year old Fiscal Responsibility Act, but will create the law that will cause the passage of every national budget not later than November 30 of the preceding year.

The report, driving the new bill was presented to the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, by the Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume. Key recommendation of the bill is that all annual budget be presented in the first week of September by the executive.

The report, prepared by the Technical Committee on Budget Reforms, also recommended that the budget be considered within two months and passed on the November 30 at the latest.

The Senate president had constituted the Budget Committee to produce a Budget Reform Strategy Paper and draft Budget Reform Bill.

The aim of the reform is to improve budget formulation, enactment, implementation and monitoring and evaluation with a view to improving budget performance.

Presenting the report, Ndume, who commended Saraki for initiating the process, said the report would improve on the inconsistencies inherent in the budgeting system.

He also expressed the need to repeal and re-enact the 1958 Act to check the anomalies in relation to the fiscal year.

Part of the report included enlarging the list of stakeholders to be consulted during the budget preparation process, as well as pre-budget consultation between the National Assembly, the executive and the public.

Also recommended by the committee are a fixed and realistic budget calendar and a pre-budget statement.

The report equally recommended the strengthening of legislative oversight function in order to minimise the negative perception of the public on oversight performance.

In his remark, Saraki said that the report would be useful in preparing and considering the 2017 budget.


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