The Senate has commenced procedures to eradicate the now customary annual delay in passing the National Budget.
The National Assembly has identified new strategies, including the adoption of a budget calendar which will compel the President to forward a Medium Term Expenditure document by the second week in July and end with the President signing the Appropriation Bill into law by third week of December every year.
In a statement released by Senate Media Office, the effort is to aid timely preparation of the budget and its efficient implementation.
The development follows a report submitted to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki by the Senator Ali Ndume-led technical committee on the reforming the budget process in Nigeria.
“The proposed budget calendar that will ensure that the President assents to the appropriations law by third week of December while the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) is submitted in the second week of July as the first step in the budget process.”
“Part of the recommendations in the report submitted last Thursday include the proposed provision of a legal backing for national development plans, and enactment of organic budget law to fix a realistic budget calendar”
According to the report, the broad strategies aimed at improving the budget process “revolve around reforming laws and frameworks for budget formulation, enactment, and implementation, aligning the budget process to international best practices, strengthening capacities, and institutions for budget formulation and implementation, and strengthening the revenue base for budget implementation.”
Some of the key reform strategies for budget preparation include
* Alter Section 81(1) of the 1999 Constitution and amend Sections 11 and 14 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) to provide for a fixed and realistic budget calendar by which the President will present the budget to tue National Assembly by the first week of September, considered and passed by by 30th November and assented to by the President by the second week of December.
* Provide effective timelines for monthly and quarterly financial and non-financial reports. Enact a law to compel all MDAs to upload their budget-related information on a dedicated website.