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‘For citizens’ inputs’ — reps to convene townhall meeting on 2024 proposed budget

‘For citizens’ inputs’ — reps to convene townhall meeting on 2024 proposed budget
November 27
17:36 2023

Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house of representatives, says the lower legislative chamber will organise a town hall meeting for citizens to contribute to the 2024 budget. 

Abbas spoke in Abuja on Monday at a capacity-building retreat organised for chairpersons of the house’s standing committees.

Abbas said President Bola Tinubu would present the 2024 appropriation bill to the national assembly in a few days after which the various committees in the house would commence work on the budget.

The speaker said the lawmakers would organise a town hall meeting to enable citizens to make contributions to the budget.

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“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,” Abbas said.

“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.”

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The speaker said this does not imply that the budget should be considered in a “haphazard and superficial” manner noting that it is a challenge to committee chairpersons to deploy all resources and make the needed sacrifices to ensure that the appropriation is passed in good time.

‘STANDING COMMITTEES GROSSLY UNDERFUNDED’

The speaker said the standing committees of the house have not been functioning optimally because they are “grossly” underfunded.

Abbas said the paucity of funds Tmakes it “nearly impossible” for them to perform their work satisfactorily to the expectation of Nigerians.

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“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 legislations,” he said.

“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.”

The speaker said the green chamber under his watch is committed to transparent engagement with the public, which he noted, would be necessary to reduce suspicion, build trust and generate support from Nigerians.

Abbas said to ensure compliance with the house’s legislative agenda, a committee on monitoring and evaluation has been set up to evaluate the work of standing and ad hoc committees.

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“The committee will submit regular reports to the house and leadership on the activities of all committees,” he said.

The speaker asked committees to be guided by “integrity, impartiality, and a commitment to serving the public good” while interfacing with ministries, departments and agencies.

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“By upholding these values, we can foster public confidence in the legislature,” he added.

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