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Senate hinges 2010 budget approval on implementation of 2009 budget

By EMMANUEL AZIKEN & TONY EDIKE
THE Senate ended its annual retreat in Enugu, on Friday, with a warning         that its consideration of the 2010 appropriation bill would depend largely on the implementation of the budget of the outgoing year.

In a communiqué at the end of the retreat, on which was devoted to constitution reform and erosion menace in the southeast zone, the Senate similarly called for a reduction in the number of existing political parties based on performance in elections.

The five-day retreat was declared closed by the president of the Senate, Senator David Mark.  In the communiqué read out by Chief Ayogu Eze, chairman of the Retreat Planning Committee, the Senate said it was committed to the review of the current electoral system and in particular believes that the following areas should be focused upon:

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A sustainable voter enlightenment campaign; first line charge funding of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC);  adequate training, equipment and motivation of the police and other security agencies;  internal democracy in the affairs of political parties; review of the registration of parties based on performance in elections; time-limit for the determination of election cases before elected officials are sworn-in among others;

that there is urgent need for the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) to be established;

that the Federal Government and all other levels of government in Nigeria should show greater commitment to budget implementation.

The respective committees of the Senate should take immediate steps to audit the level of implementation of the 2009 budget in the ministries, departments and agencies which will form a basis for the consideration of the 2010 appropriation bill; and

that there should be concerted and co-ordinated effort by all levels of government to combat the menace of erosion in the south-east zone, as it has assumed the dimension of a national disaster.


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