The president of the Nigerian senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said the National Assembly is not only concerned about the timely passage of the 2020 budget but also deeply concerned about its implementation.
Mr Lawan spoke Wednesday at the National Hearing on the 2020 Budget at the National Assembly, Abuja.
The hearing was attended by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and principal officers of both chambers.
The senate president tasked the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, to provide achievable targets that are measurable with timelines for the implementation of the 2020 budget.
He said, “We have mandated our Committees to engage with the MDAs. We want the MDAs to give us roadmaps on how they intend to achieve their targets.
“If you are taken 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in 2020, in ten years it will be one hundred million. We want to see the plans by the relevant or responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government on how the 2020 budget will be able to take 10 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“We want these to be measurable targets. We are not going to be asking for stories. We are going to be asking for facts.
“So, we are going to task the MDAs that in this year budget we will not wait until 2021, give us targets that are measurable which we can evaluate after every quarter.”
Mr Lawan also cautioned on the continued reliance on borrowing to fund the infrastructure needs of the country but instead suggested a Public Private Partnership, PPP, option.
“If we have to borrow, we should borrow. Where we can avoid borrowing because there is another opportunity, we should take that opportunity that has a lesser burden,” he said.
Mr Lawan also said he was in agreement with the suggestion for the resuscitation of the long term national planning programme.
“I agree that the long term national economic programme is useful. We had it before, it worked for us better. We stopped it and we have seen the consequences.
“So now that we have a minister that thinks that we should go back to that process and we have a National Assembly that is prepared to ensure that this country does better. We should hit the ground running.
“I am not aware of any request for legislation but if it is the desire or necessity that we legislate, this National Assembly will work with the government to ensure that we legislate on the national economic development plans,” he said.