Sen. Iyiola Omisore (APC- Osun) says there is nothing like budget padding, as it is the responsibility of the National Assembly to approve the yearly budget of the executive.
Omisore, also a former chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, said this at a one-day citizens’ town hall meeting on the 2024 appropriation bill in Abuja on Monday.
“When you hear of padding, it is an embarrassment; there is nothing like padding. The president brought the budget, which is what we have now,” he said.
He said that Civil Society Organisations should know that there was nothing like padding in the Nigerian budgeting system.
“The budget as presented by the President means that NASS has the power to look into it and see whether it satisfies Nigerians or not.
“If you don’t give a budget, there is nothing to oversight. The moment you put blackmail on a budget, then you don’t believe in it. The budget belongs to the parliament,” he said.
Rep. Benjamin Kalu, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, said that budget played critical role in determining the allocation of resources, adding that it must be inclusive and reflect the needs and aspirations of the citizenry.
He said the town hall meeting provided a unique opportunity for the citizenry to understand the budget process.
He urged the public to participate actively in the budget process, adding that Nigeria was faced with the challenge of limited resources and numerous demands.
“The government is committed to fiscal responsibility, and the budget demonstrates prudent financial management.
“The 2024 budget will be an effective utilization of budget resources and will serve the interests of the populace,” he said.
Alhaji Sani Tambawal, the Clerk of the National Assembly, said that ignoring critical stakeholders in budget formulation was not good for the system.
“The budget is owned by the people; this town hall is in line with the agenda of the 10th House of Representatives. This will help to strengthen the democratic structure,” he said.
He said that the town hall meeting would help in the open process and accountability in the budget process, adding that it would advance democratic processes and public policy formulation. (NAN)