Senate to hold public hearing on 2017 budget, despite maintaining secret finances

Nigerian Senate
Nigerian Senate

The Nigerian Senate will on Monday hold a public hearing to enable citizen-participation in the approval of the N7.28 trillion proposed 2017 budget – presented by President Muhammadu Buhari last year.

Described as “a first-of-its-kind”, the convocation of the public hearing on the budget proposal was disclosed by the spokesperson for the Senate, Aliyu Abdullahi, in a statement late Thursday.

According to Mr. Abdullahi, the public hearing is aimed at allowing stakeholders and members of the public make contributions to the proposed legislation before passage by the National Assembly.

The Senate, like the House of Representatives, announced suspension of regular plenary sessions on January 26 to allow all committees “conduct adequate oversight” and convene budget defence sessions for ministries, departments and agencies to defend allocations proposed for them in the budget.

Bukola Saraki

Both chambers are expected to return to regular plenary on February 21.

Monday’s public hearing, Mr. Abdullahi said, would push the budget defence a step further by allowing members of the public to weigh-in constructively on ways to improve the appropriation bill.

“This will be the first time something like this is happening,” Mr. Abdullahi said, adding that, “It’s a testament to the leadership and foresight of the Senate President, and the commitment of the 8th Senate as a whole to ensure that the budget is passed transparently — with adequate feedback from the general public.

The spokesperson quoted Senate President Bukola Saraki as saying: “We will continue to create platforms such as these, that will allow the general public to play a role in what we do here.“

“Moving forward, the public can expect that we will continue this practice of having an open budget hearing where every-day Nigerians are primary contributors.”

While the Senate seeks public review of the 2017 budget, it has refused to provide details of its own budget.

Mr. Saraki, also the chairman of the National Assembly, has refused to honour repeated promises to Nigerians to publicly disclose the details of the lawmakers’ budget.

Mr. Saraki came to office in June 2015 promising accountability and transparency; but ever since, he has reneged on every promise to open the budget of the National Assembly to the public.

With N23.347 billion in 2003, the National Assembly’s budget now stands at about N115 billion, representing over 492 per cent rise in 13 years. Until 2016, the budget had often gone as high as N150 billion.

It is not immediately clear if heads of the MDAs who have been appearing before various committees will participate in Monday’s unique public hearing on the budget.

The Senate had in January passed the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, a precursor to consideration of annual budget.


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  • Law Americana

    Premium Times Editor,

    FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD. A NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HEADED BY BUKOLA SARAKI
    is bound to be a cesspool of thefts and bribes and nothing else besides because the
    head of the National Assembly does not have knowledge of political science or law
    to make informed decision on reform matters of a dysfunctional political system.
    Bukola Saraki came into public affairs to steal, to loot and to destroy – based
    on the evidence before the court, including recent exposure of $60million
    he spirited out and secretly lodged in an account in Panama as plunder.
    Bukola Saraki would be in jail by now but for Muhamadu Buhari’s folly.
    Under an enlightened president, the evidence uncovered will convict.

    • Ademola J.

      SINCE 1999 THAT HE’S CONTINUOUSLY BEEN IN PUBLIC OFFICE IN NIGERIA,
      IT IS A SHAME AND A DISGRACE THAT BUKOLA SARAKI IS SO BEREFT OF THOUGHT
      THAT HE’S BEEN UNABLE TO ACCOMPLISH A SINGLE THING IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
      NOT A SINGLE THING ACHIEVED IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST – FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD.

    • TTT news centre

      “Toyin Ojora-Saraki, the wife of the president of the Nigerian Senate, is a business front
      for her husband, Bukola Saraki.According to documents retrieved from the Mossack Fonseca
      database (Panama) the assets in her name in tax havens are held in trust for Bukola (Saraki),
      Nigeria’s third most powerful official.

      Landfield International Developments
      a company registered in the British Virgin Islands on April 8, 2014 – had Toyin Ojora-Saraki
      as sole shareholder. But it is apparent that she was a front, because Bukola Saraki has since
      discreetly taken over the company using Longmeadow Holdings, another shell company
      registered in Jersey.

      To effect the take-over, a board meeting of Landfield was purportedly held on January 28 2015,
      where it was agreed that the company be sold to Bukola Saraki for more than £3-million. That same
      day, Toyin Ojora-Saraki wrote to Mossack Fonseca informing it that she was transferring the
      beneficial ownership of Landfield to Bukola Saraki and his company.”

      …………..Mail & Guardian

      [April 22nd, 2016]

  • breakin’ news

    Breaking News:
    ……………………

    “In one of the largest financial scandals in recent ears, Nigeria’s 36 state governors and Senate President Bukola Saraki
    pocketed large slices of funds approved by the Federal Government to reimburse states for the excessive deductions charged to them on account of the Paris Club and other international loans.

    SaharaReporters learned that the Governors’ Forum received a hefty sum of the funds. Our team of investigators discovered that some of the governors got as much as N400 million, while Mr. Saraki carted away N2.5 billion out of the
    first batch of payments made to the states”.

    ……..Sahara Reporters

    (February 12th, 2017)

    • viva

      NIGERIANS, NIGERIANS, NIGERIANS, rise from slumber and kill your treasury thieves,

      if you want a good country for yourselves and your children, because for so long as

      treasury thieves are free and safe, you will accept theft as the meaning of success.

  • Immanueli

    Is Bukola Saraki so very fat that no prison cell can size him again in Nigeria; or, what?
    This thing is very annoying. No stealing case in Nigeria arises without involving Saraki.
    Are we to live under the Rule of Thieves under President Buhari’s anti-corruption fight?
    If this Buhari/Osinbajo is too corrupt to fight theft why don’t both men resign right now?
    Nigeria needs a revolutionary type of government to lay people like Saraki to rest now.

    • Fola Timothy

      @Immanueli:

      We know there are quite a few
      criminals sitting pretty as Senators today on the necks of all Nigerians,
      including those who did not vote for them. We know that. Not a few of these sitting Senators are
      felons answering criminal charges in the courtrooms for their insane thefts. We’re
      aware of that too. Amongst these useless Senators there’s also a sprinkle of
      fugitives wanted abroad for selling cocaine.

      What we are hoping for now is the near-impossible. Can these morally empty
      Senators of Nigeria’s National Assembly rise for once and above their own personal
      failings to vote Bukola Saraki out of office as Senate President, just to save
      Nigeria from further international shame and disgrace as a country whose
      Parliament is under the control of a notorious thief? Who knows?

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