Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The federal government yesterday commended the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, for initiating the reform of the nation’s budget process, saying he had the backing of the executive.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Sani Onogu, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, made the comment at the formal presentation of the report of the Technical Committee on Budget Reform Process in Nigeria, inaugurated by the Senate President on July 25, 2016.
The minister said the success of any budget process depends on effective collaboration between the executive and the legislature.
“This initiative of Your Excellency, the Senate President, is an initiative that has the full support of the executive. We believe that the budget and the budget process is something that we have to work on together closely and collaboratively.
“Consequently, your initiative to look at the reform of the process is an initiative that we welcome and which was why the Director General of the Budget Office, with my authority, participated fully in the deliberations.
“As the Senate Leader indicated, the success of any budget depends on very close collaboration between the executive and the legislature. I believe that this process that you have embarked on and the reforms will help to smoothen some of the issues that arise from time to time when we are considering the budget,” he said.
In his remark, Saraki also commended Udoma for his participation in the process that produced the report, adding: “I think as a country, what we are doing today is long overdue for us to have reviewed the budget process. I think we are truly building a solid foundation for the years ahead.
“I agree that the recommendations require the review of certain laws, but I think there are some of them that have to do with processes. I think we can immediately begin to implement those that have to do with processes.
“As we all know, for many years, this has been an area of acrimony and disaffection between the two arms of government which is mainly due to ambiguities in some of the laws and processes,” Saraki said.
Earlier, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, said low development indicators and lackluster performance of the economy in general were caused by inefficient and ineffective public financial management and budgeting in particular.
He said the broad objective of the exercise was to address the pitfalls and challenges in the budget process and significantly improve formulation, enactment, implementation, monitoring and evaluation with a view to improving budget performance and development outcome.