The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, on Monday, pledged the readiness of the House to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act to deepen citizens’ participation in the country’s budgetary system.
The Speaker stated this in Abuja at a Citizens’ town hall engagement on the 2024 budget and appropriation process organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation and the Programmes Coordinating Unit, Office of the Speaker, with support from the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre and the United Kingdom International Development.
In his keynote address, Abbas, who represents Zaria Federal Constituency, Kaduna State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, described the event as a platform for direct engagement between legislators and citizens.
According to the Speaker, this would enhance transparency of government spending and allow the public to be more informed about how public funds are to be used and, by so doing, build greater trust in government institutions.
He said, “The House will review the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 to strengthen existing provisions to improve access to information and public consultation during all phases of the budget cycle.
“Specifically, we will amend the FRA to require and define public participation explicitly. The House of Representatives has taken the lead in facilitating greater citizens’ participation in the budget process, and I challenge all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to do the same.”
Abbas maintained that the House under his leadership would continue to seek ideas and contributions of the public to deepen public participation in the governance/legislative process.
On his part, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, assured Nigerians that despite the economic challenges facing the nation, the 2024 budget proposal was good enough to take the country out of the woods.
“The year 2024 presents us with unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, both globally and domestically. Factors such as the war in Ukraine, global inflationary pressures, and disruptions in the supply chain have placed immense strain on economies worldwide, including ours,” he declared.