By Tordue Salem – Abuja
The House of Representatives may compel itself, to subject yearly national budgets to public scrutiny, Vanguard learnt on Thursday.
The House is considering a Fiscal Responsibility Act Amendment Bill, 2020. The Legislative instrument, sponsored by Rep. Benjamin Mzondu(PDP-Benue), seeks to alter the original Law, to allow for estimates from the president to undergo public scrutiny before implementation.
The Bill, amends section 11 of the Principal Act, to assert the phrase “open to the public, the press and any citizen, or authorized representative of any organisation, group of citizens, or community, immediately after the word shall of that section.
“Section 13 of the Principal Act, is amended in subsection 2(a) by deleting the word May, in the first line of that paragraph and replacing it thereof, with the word Shall”.
“Section 2(a) of section 13 of the Principal Act, is further amended by inserting the word communities immediately after the word citizens in the provision to that subsection.
“Section 49 subsection 2 of the Principal Act, is amended to read as follows: “The National Assembly shall ensure transparency during the Principal Act preparation and discussion of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, Annual Budget and Appropriation Bill, by making consultations open to the public, the press and any citizen or authorized representative of any organisation, group of citizens or community”.
The explanatory part of the Bill states that: ” This Bill, seeks to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 to make it mandatory for open consultations with the public and all interested Nigerians during the preparation and discussion of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, Annual Budget and the Appropriation Bill and ensure participatory and Inclusive Budget Process in Nigeria”.
The House, on Wednesday, referred to its Committee on Appropriations, estimates of the 2021 Budget, as presented to a Joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last week Tuesday.
Committees of the House, are expected to start receiving inputs from Ministries and Agencies of government next week.