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Nigerians Will Be Involved In 2024 Budget Process At Townhall – Reps Speaker, Abbas

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen has said that the 10th House is planning to convene a town hall meeting with stakeholders on the 2024 Appropriation which President Bola Tinubu is expected to present before a joint session of the National Assembly tomorrow, November 29.
According to the speaker, the townhall session would allow Nigerians to participate in the consideration and passage of the budget.
Speaking while declaring open, a one-day capacity building retreat for chairmen and deputy chairmen of House committees, he said that in line with its mantra, ‘Peoples House,’ the 10th House is committed to greater and more transparent engagement with the public.
Speaker Abbas stressed that the townhall session will reduce suspicion, building trust and generating support for the work of the National Assembly.
“As we expect to receive the 2024 Appropriation Bill in a few days, I wish to state that the House will convene a Budget Town Hall Meeting to enable citizens to make inputs into the 2024 Appropriation. It is the first time such an engagement is planned at the national level.
“I invite our partners to work with us in preparing for a vigorous and all-inclusive budget process.
“To ensure speedy passage of the 2024 budget, I charge all committees to double their efforts and finalise all considerations in two weeks.
“However, this does not imply haphazard and superficial consideration of the budget. Rather, it is a challenge to you to deploy all resources and make the needed sacrifices to ensure we pass the budget in good time for the good of all Nigerians.”
Speaker Abbas said that committees play a crucial role in the legislative process, and have been called the ‘engine room’ of the parliament.
He said that through committees, members develop subject matter expertise and undertake more detailed review and scrutiny of bills and other government policies.
He said that the committees have contributed in no small measure to improving accountability through its oversight function.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the National Assembly, especially the House of Representatives, has progressively exercised its powers to ensure that the executive is always answerable to the Nigerian people.”
The Speaker said that despite the growing assertiveness of the Nigerian legislature and its centrality in promoting good governance, committees face several challenges that impede their overall effectiveness.
These, he said, include a high turnover rate and its attendant effect on legislative expertise.
“For instance, the 10th House of Representatives has recorded the highest attrition rate since the return to democracy in 1999. As a result, critical knowledge and expertise have been lost in the process.”
Speaker Abbas listed other factors militating against committees’ effectiveness to include insufficient resources particularly inadequate funding, staffing and resources, all of which he said limit their ability to conduct thorough analysis and research.
“Despite the widely held belief, the House and its committees are grossly underfunded, making it nearly impossible for them to function optimally.
“Anyone familiar with the inner workings of the legislature knows the quantum of resources required to undertake robust oversight adequately, hire experts and consultants, undertake inspection visits and draft quality legislation.
“Ironically, while Nigerians expect the best representation from the National Assembly and its members, they do not always understand that this is only possible through adequate funding.”
At the event were the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Okezie Kalu; Chief of Staff to the President and former Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila; a former President of the Senate and ex-Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; many members of the House as well as representatives of Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and YIAGA Africa, who provided support for the retreat.

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