Dogara: Reps will pass 2017 budget openly to avoid repeat of scandal
In a bid to avoid a repetition of budget fraud allegations which plagued the 2016 budget, the details of the 2017 N7.3 trillion budget would be debated and passed openly at plenary and during proceedings by the House of Representatives.
The Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, in his welcome address at the resumption from the Christmas/New Year recess tuesday, reiterated the House’s commitment to the budget reform process.
He described the 2017 budget as a major tool to rejig the national economy.
“We must brace up and work assiduously and conscientiously to give Nigerians a budget that will not only lift us out of recession but kick start the needed expeditious journey into Nigeria’s prosperity. We pledge to reform the budget process,” he said.
“To this end therefore, we would ensure that the procedure and process of consideration and passage of the 2017 budget is transparent, inclusive and professionally handled. The details of the budget should be debated and passed in plenary to avoid those needless pitfalls that normally characterise the budget process,” Dogara added.
The practice before now was that budget details were debated at relevant committee levels, with each committee presenting recommendations to the House at the plenary.
Dogara, three principal officers, and some committee chairmen had been accused of budget fraud by a former Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Jibrin Abdulmumin, who accused them of inserting projects in the 2016 budget.
Each item in the 2017 budget would therefore be discussed openly at plenary for approval or rejection by the lawmakers.