President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the restoration of Nigeria’s budget cycle to the January to December timeline has resulted in increased predictability of the country’s fiscal plans as well as boosted the confidence of local and foreign investors.
The Senate President explained that an unpredictable budget sequence was unacceptable for a nation in dire need of development, a situation which made it imperative for the ninth Assembly to correct the anomaly in accordance with the constitution.
He said for the first time since the fourth republic, Nigeria’s budget recorded 100 per cent implementation level in the year 2020 by the federal government under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Lawan made this known while delivering a speech on Monday at a Meritorious Award Ceremony organised by the Senate Press Corps in Abuja.
The Senate President was a recipient of two awards – the Parliamentary Leadership for Good Governance and Budget Cycle Restoration Awards.
The awards were presented to Lawan at the ceremony by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri who also bagged Ambassador of the Senate Award.
Speaking at the event, Lawan said, “These honours are no doubt encouraging, considering the demanding nature of statecraft, despite a primary commitment to service.
“As journalists at the heart of reporting the legislature, you are surely in an excellent position to appreciate the enormity of our tasks, and how well we are doing, to deliver on our mandate.
“We therefore expect your judgments to be very qualified, which is why I am gladdened by the recognition, in addition to those extended to my colleagues.
“While good governance is a work in progress, it requires a painstaking feedback process, to appreciate loopholes and for efforts towards blocking them.
“These loopholes can be evident through the need to carry our outstanding responsibilities, in fulfilling our mandate of legislation, appropriation and oversight, and in ensuring they lead to improved welfare of the people.”
The Senate President added that the ninth National Assembly keyed into the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in its bid to ensure accountability and transparency to minimise or eliminate waste in government spending.
“The National Assembly has since keyed into this plan, in line with our legislative agenda, and compliant with our individual and collective desires to leave valuable and lasting legacies.
“We have resolved in the Senate to continue on this noble path, not only for the present and the future generations, but to shore up our status in the comity of nations.
“We were early in showing our zeal and desire through our attitude to work, resulting in the normalization of the Budget cycle, to fit into the January to December calendar year.”
Reeling accrued benefits which are outcomes of the restoration of the country’s budget cycle by the National Assembly, Lawan disclosed that same has impacted positively on Nigeria’s fiscal plans in a way that continues to boost investor confidence.
He explained, “The ninth Senate realised from the beginning that an unpredictable budget sequence was unacceptable for a nation in dire need of development, and we had to correct the anomaly in accordance with our desire and commitment to make the budget work for Nigerians.”
He added that, “The restoration of the budget cycle has resulted in increased predictability of our fiscal plans and should continue to boost local and foreign investor confidence.
“And let me add here, that for the first time, probably since the first republic, the budget of the federal government was implemented for the first time 100 per cent in 2020.”
The Senate President, at the occasion, announced that the Senate will institute awards for Parliamentary Reporting in the Senate Press Corps effective from 2022.
Lawan also announced that the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies(NILDS) will introduce a training programme in Parliamentary Reporting for the National Assembly reporters.
“The idea is simple. We want to enhance your capacity, your competence, your capability so that when you report, you continue to educate Nigerians on what the National Assembly does or what is expected of the National Assembly.
“The task is for us, legislators, to inform Nigerians of what we do but you can do that even better because you are journalists and your media houses are there for people to listen to and we believe this is going to be a win-win for both the Senate and House of Representatives Press Corps and members of the National Assembly as well,” Lawan said.
Several other Senators, both serving and non-serving, and some state governors were also honoured at the occasion.