The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, promised on Monday that the House is prepared to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act in order to increase public involvement in the country’s budgetary process.
The Punch reported that the speaker made this statement in Abuja during a town hall meeting for citizens about the 2024 budget and appropriations process.
The event was organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations and the Speaker’s Office’s Programs Coordinating Unit, with assistance from the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre and the United Kingdom International Development.
In his keynote speech, Abbas—who runs for the All Progressives Congress and represents Zaria Federal Constituency in Kaduna State, described the occasion as a forum for direct communication between lawmakers and constituents.
The Speaker claimed that this would increase government spending transparency, give the public more knowledge about how public funds are to be used, and increase public confidence in government agencies.
“The House will examine the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 to reinforce current provisions to enhance public consultation and information access throughout the entire budget cycle,” he declared.
“We will specifically amend the FRA to clearly require and define public participation. I challenge all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to follow the House of Representatives’ lead in promoting increased public participation in the budget process.
Under his direction, Abbas insisted, the House would keep looking for suggestions and contributions of the public to deepen public participation in the governance/legislative process.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, gave Nigerians assurances that, in spite of the country’s economic difficulties, the proposed budget for 2024 was sufficient to pull the country out of its current predicament.
We face previously unheard-of difficulties and uncertainties in 2024, both at home and abroad. The war in Ukraine, pressures from global inflation, and supply chain disruptions have all put tremendous strain on economies including our own, all over the world, he said.