‘National Assembly made 100% implementation of 2020 budget possible’
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the 2020 budget of the Federal Government was implemented 100 per cent.
Lawan said the feat was made possible by the efforts of the 9th National Assembly that resulted in the normalization of the budget cycle, to fit into the January to December calendar year.
This is even as Lawan announced that the Senate would from 2022 institute awards for parliamentary reporting and equally introduce a parliamentary reporting course for journalists at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
Lawan made this assertion while speaking as Chairman of the 2021 Awards and Dinner organized by the Senate Press Corps in Abuja.
The Senate Press Corps presented two awards to the Senate President on “Parliamentary leadership for good governance” and “Budget cycle restoration.”
It also gave awards to 30 other eminent Nigerians including senators, governors and ministers.
Lawan said: “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.
“This government has long made a commitment to good governance, by emphasizing the values of accountability, and transparency, to minimise or eliminate waste.
“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 lasting legacies.
“We have resolved 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 through our attitude to work, resulting in the normalization of the Budget Cycle, to fit into the January to December calendar year.
“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.
“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.
“Let me add here that for the first time, probably since the 4th Republic came into being, the budget of the federal government of Nigeria was implemented 100 per cent in 2020.
“Of course, it is not difficult to know the secret behind that performance. In the legislative agenda of the Senate, we clearly defined the way forward for this budget to be implemented the way it was.
“Before 2019, the budget cycle of the Federal Government was unpredictable and therefore very difficult to implement significantly and also almost impossible for our businesses to plan very well based on the budget cycle.
“Having worked so hard to pass the budget 2020 in December of 2019, the Executive had the opportunity to start implementing the budget from January of 2020.
“But so much commitment, dedication and patriotism went into passing the budget in December 2019.
“And if you are looking for what legislature and executive partnership can bring to a nation look no further than what we have been able to achieve with this budget because it took our commitment in the National Assembly and similar commitment by the executive to ensure that they submitted the Appropriation bill in good time.
“Currently and obviously, this is now the new norm that the budget is presented to the National Assembly in September and latest, first week of October. This is now our culture and we can see the reward in terms of national development.
“Our motivation is always the greater good of the people, despite the challenges of limited resources, and the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Lawan said the proposed parliamentary awards and training is meant to motivate parliamentary reporters to put in their best.
He said the National Institute of Democratic and Legislative Studies (NILDS) would henceforth offer a course in parliamentary reporting.
He said the course would help build the capacity of journalists reporting the National Assembly.
He said: “I want to take this opportunity to announce today that the Senate is going to institute awards for parliamentary reporting in the Senate Press Corps.
“We will set up a panel that will recommend those to be awarded in all categories. These people could be from the Senate Press Corps, and other professionals who are outside because we want to do something that will really show appreciation of what you are doing.
“So from 2022 we will start to have those awards. But I also want to announce that the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies will also introduce a programme of training in parliamentary reporting for our Press Corps.
“Every year from 2022 we will have nominations of some people among you who will benefit from such training.
“And the idea is to enhance your capacity, competence and capabilities so that when you report, you will continue to educate Nigerians on what the National Assembly does or what is expected of the National Assembly.”