*Buhari receives NABRO Bill seeking to minimise budget conflict
James Emejo in Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara on Monday said the National Assembly has no alternative than to craft a viable legal framework upon which sustainable economic growth and progress could be built to address the “intense poverty and misery” which have held “the knives out for our citizens.”
He said no responsible and proactive parliament or institution of democracy should fold its hands in the face of the grim reality of hardship which the people have had to cope with, stressing that “We must reverse the nose-diving trend of the hope and opportunity curve of our dear country to stamp out the slide towards violence which is fast becoming the language of the despondent and hopeless.”
Speaking at the opening of a summit on Legislative Framework for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development which was organised by the House Adhoc Tactical Committee on Economic Recession, the Speaker , however, stressed that the lower chamber is committed to providing all needed legislative interventions and measures that would exit the country permanently out of recession as well as return it to the path of economic growth and development.
He said as part of efforts by the legislature to tackle the recession, according to the Ad hoc Committee on Economic Recession was set up following a concurrent resolutions of both chambers National Assembly specifically the “Senate Resolution S/Res./018/02/16 and House Resolution (HR.107/2016), on the subject matter and was constituted to among others, monitor the various steps and policies of government on the subject; interact with relevant stakeholders towards overcoming the challenges; and to help develop legislative responses to efforts by key actors designed to return our economy to the path of growth and stability.
He said: “It gladdens my heart that we are beginning to enjoy the fruits of those measures. In January 2017, President Muhammad Buhari GCFR, launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan targeted at improving agriculture, infrastructure, energy, transportation to serve as the needed foundation for industrialization and productivity.
“For most of our families, the situation has been pathetic. They have endured the economic downturn with grace; suffering quietl y as they deal with recession by trying to dig their way out of a pit defined by unrelenting economic bleakness. The terminal date of a recession is usually no cheering news for families as the traumatic effects of a recession on families lasts far more than the duration of an economic downturn.
“In the face of this grim reality, no responsible and proactive Parliament, indeed, no Institution of democracy should fold its hands and look the other way as intense poverty and misery hold the knives out for our citizens. Therefore, we have no alternative but to craft a viable legal framework upon which sustainable economic growth and progress can be built. We must reverse the nose-diving trend of the hope and opportunity curve of our dear country to stamp out the slide towards violence which is fast becoming the language of the despondent and hopeless.
“The fight against violence is the fight of the 21st Century. So many nations have lost their civilizations or have become failed states due to violence. Poverty and misery serve as fuel to violence. For citizens of democracy to defeat violence, they must first defeat extreme poverty. Our democracy cannot survive the 21st century, unless we eliminate extreme poverty and violence.
“Therefore, the most important work for democracy now is eliminating extreme poverty and expanding economic opportunities for all. This is a fight Government alone cannot win, in fact no Government has ever won this fight. It is the private sector that always wins the fight. Our citizens and indeed all democratic Institutions must stand up and be counted. For us in the Parliament, today’s event is expected to serve as our modest contribution to this noble fight for democracy and progress,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday received the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) bill for his assent.
The legislation seeks to play a critical role in reducing budget related controversies during the consideration of the 2018 estimates.
The bill was transmitted to the president for his assent ahead of the 2018 budget presentation before a joint session of the National Assembly today.
Golu told THISDAY:”When fully established, NABRO will make the budget consideration process less cumbersome and fast” adding that the executive would collaborate with the legislature to make annual budgets to be considered within short time.
The president had in a letter last week requested the indulgence of both the Senate and the House to present the budget estimates.
Based on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), the Federal Government was proposing N8.6 trillion for 2018, about 15 percent higher than the N7.4trillion for 2017 budget.
Sponsored in the House by Golu and other members of his committee, the bill will give NABRO the powers to critically examine annual budgets with a view to streamlining the fiscal documents.
He budget associated controversies will be a thing of the past when the Office is established.