President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, on Friday, September 27, underscored the need to have a budget reform; one that will include a law on timeliness in budget passing.
Lawan made the call at a business meeting of the Institute of Directors’ Annual Conference in Abuja.
“We can reform our budget cycle if there is a law on timeliness for budget passing,’’ he said.
Lawan, who spoke on “Reforming the Budget Cycle: A First Step in Our Journey to the Next Level” said timeliness and deadlines would give leaders focus; as well as make for more definite on deliverables.
According to him, reports indicate that other countries have more definite budget cycles through legislation. Examples include the U.S., Canada, Austria, Brazil, France and India
“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 well being 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.
According to him, a database will be more helpful for the appreciation of financial projections, despite current efforts by the National Bureau of Statistics and some multilateral agencies in showing sectoral performances of the economy.
He called for the amendment of the Public Procurement Act 2007; noting 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.