The House of Representatives Tuesday said it will fast track the passage of the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) into law in early 2016 to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari has enough time to study the legislation before assenting to it or withholding his assent.
Chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, Rep. Timothy Golu disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists in Abuja.
Rep. Golu said the House needs to pass the bill setting up the budget office into law in order to provide a strong and sound legislative structure to constructively engage the executive arm of government in the budget formulation, monitoring and implementation.
He added that the National Assembly requires a functional budget office to increase the capacity of the legislature to help in fighting corruption and promoting the culture of the rule of law.
“No doubt, the budget is the most important national document after the constitution and the most essential annual economic policy tool. This is because it provides a comprehensive statement of the nation’s priorities and financial intent for a given year.
“Being the number one arm of government in a democracy, a strong, capable and virile legislature is necessary to perform the functions of law making, representation and oversight”, e lawmaker said.
According to him, the 1999 Constitution, the Fiscal Responsibility Act and Appropriation Act are the three major legal documents that the country has that prescribe the role of the National Assembly in respect of the budget.
“So, a fully functional NABRO with the force of law will be a veritable position to support the National Assembly to positively engage the executive drawing on all the strengths of the legislature hidden in these myriad of laws amend statues in having a better budgeting process and a more efficient budget implementation”, Golu said.
Furthermore, he added that the law will be of immense value to the National Assembly in view of the Buhari’s administration adoption of zero- based budgeting, maintaining that the budget office will be the National Assembly’s component of United States Congressional Budget Office, the Scrutiny Office in Britain and the Parliamentary Budget Office as found in Canada, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and Uganda respectively.
Daily Times recall that the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) bill had been passed into law twice by the 5th, 6th and 7th assembly, but regrettably, the bill wasn’t assented to by former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.