National Assembly will soon make public its 2018 budget -Lawan

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National Assembly will soon make public its 2018 budget, in line with the provision of the Freedom of Information Act, Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan told news men on Wednesday.

According to the timeline scheduled by the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives, the report of the 2018 budget is expected to be laid on the floor of both chambers on Thursday April 19, 2018 and passed on Tuesday, 24th April, 2018.

Lawan (APC) gave the assurance during a press briefing on the forthcoming National Assembly Open Week, scheduled to hold between June 25 and 29 this year (2018) at the premises of the National Assembly complex, Abuja.

Some of the activities scheduled for the four-day event are: interactive session with the executive arm of government on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP); interactive session with judiciary on pre and post elections adjudication and constitutional separation of powers; interactive session with trade unions on economic growth and industrial relations; interactive session with traditional rulers and pressure groups and interactive session with civil society organisations on accountability and service delivery in governance as well as interactive session with women, youth and student groups.

Lawan explained that the Open Week was aimed at fostering public perception and involvement in political dialogue and ensuring greater public trust in governance.

He maintained that Nigerian citizens have every right to understand the operations of the Legislature by promoting transparency and accountability.

“Many parliaments, including the National Assembly, are increasingly providing the pubic with information on their budgets, expenditures and financial activities.

“Parliamentary openness has also taken the form of direct engagement within the policy making process by providing citizens access to information about the laws under consideration, as well as opportunities to influence legislative deliberations.

“We at the National Assembly have made several attempts to promoting parliamentary openness and greater publication participation in governance and decision-making. Some of the concrete measures include live coverage of plenary sessions, opening committee meetings to the press and the public and recently making its budget and expenditures open to review by citizens. This is further reinforced by the Freedom of Information Act, initiated and passed by the National Assembly to aid good governance and accountability.

“You recall that the President of the Senate in 2016 gave the breakdown of the National Assembly budget. I’m sure the details of the 2018 budget will be made public by the leadership of the National Assembly.

“It is against this background that the National Assembly has initiated the Open Week to open National Assembly to the public. It will broaden public understanding of legislative functions and processes and engender interaction between legislators and key stakeholders,” Lawan said.

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