The National Assembly has charged federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to provide achievable targets that are measurable with timelines for the implementation of the 2020 budget.
The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who gave the charge at the opening session of the two-day Public Hearing on the 2020 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday, said that the 9th Assembly was not only concerned about the timely passage of the budget but also about its implementation.
Lawan 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”, the lawmaker added.
Lawan, who is also the Chairman of the National Assembly, expressed concern over the continued reliance on borrowing by government to fund the infrastructure needs of the country, especially given the better financing option availed by the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to finance such projects.
The lawmaker pointed out that if we have to borrow, we should borrow but where the country can avoid borrowing because there is another opportunity, government should take that opportunity that has a lesser burden.
Lawan also expressed his support to the suggestion the long term national planning programme should be rescucitated.
He said: “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”, the Senator added.