According to reports, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has re-echoed his stance on the diversification of the nation’s source of revenue, to continue funding the budget.
Senator Saraki made this remark on Wednesday while declaring open, the second edition of the National Assembly interactive session with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Nigeria’s budget.
According to him, Nigerians should “look beyond the expenditure side of the budget and pay particular attention on our revenue generating capacities and alternatives”.
He, however, said despite the current economic situation of the country, government’s expenditures, especially spending on critical infrastructure, needed to be financed.
“The daunting challenge now is how best we can ensure that the budget is utilized as an effective policy tool to navigate our way out of the current economic recession”, Saraki said.
On the need to diversify the economy, the Senate President said “the obvious reality is that government can no longer depend on oil for revenues as oil prices are projected to remain lower for longer, and oil productions have been less than projected”.
The Senate President acknowledged the role of the Civil Society Organizations in budget process, through social engineering and constructive engagements.
“The 1st interactive session did a great job at establishing a bond between the National Assembly and the CSOs through a joint alliance on the Annual Budget Hearings”, he added.
In her address, the Senate Committee Chairman on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organisations, Senator Rose Oko said the forum was essential as it would accord the legislature and CSOs to essentially build and consolidate on the outcomes of their previous engagements, for enhanced results.
She said the interactive session was “aimed at deepening and reinforcing the understanding reached by the two institutions towards working mutually, to advance the cause of nation-building for the benefit of Nigerians “.
It could be recalled that before the 2016 budget was passed, the Senate did organise an interactive session in February where members of the CSOs canvased that they should be involved in the budgetary process in the National Assembly.