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House of Reps to Begin Sectoral Debates

by / Sunday, 01 May 2016 / Published in Blog

The House of Representatives is billed to commence sectoral debate on aspects of the Nigerian economy on Tuesday, May 3rd 2016.

The sectoral debate is consistent with the 8th Assembly’s Legislative Agenda and Standing Orders, and will address challenges facing different aspects of the Nigerian economy.

The first Sectoral Debate shall cover “Diversification of the Nigerian Economy: Real Sector Development”.

SCHEDULING OF SECTORAL DEBATES

The Speaker has approved the holding of the Sectoral Debates consistent with the Legislative Agenda of the House, Paragraph 7(ii) :
“(ii.) Sectoral Debates
The 8th House will introduce sectoral debates on various aspects of Nigerian economy as part of its legislative initiative to address national problems. These sectoral debates will lead to the crafting of new laws or amendment to existing ones or generate recommendations on how to address the specific problem in question.
The House will designate specific legislative sitting days or weeks in its calendar specifically for discussion on various problems facing the nation. Such identified themes, sectors, areas or problems include employment and job creation, Health, Education and Social Services; Women, Youths and Children concerns; Power/Energy Sector, Oil and Gas, Science and Technology; Commerce and Industry; Transportation; Telecommunications; Agriculture; Mining; Manufacturing; Diversification of the Economy, Finance, Corruption, Security Matters, Infrastructure and other initiatives of urgent national importance.
Modalities for carrying out the sectoral debates will be as approved by the House.”
It was also provided by Order XVI, Rule 3 (New Rule).
“The House may engage in sectoral debates on issues of national importance as may be directed by the House or the Speaker.”

2. The Honourable Speaker has approved the scheduling of the first set of debates from 3rd May to 5th May, 2016 on “Diversification of the Economy: Real Sector Development”.

3. The Honourable Ministers of different Ministries concerned with this topic are to be scheduled to present their different perspectives, on the diversification of the economy as follows: 


Hon. Minister of information, Culture and Tourism – 3rd May, 2016- 11am
Hon. Minister of Agriculture – 4th May, 2016 – 11am
Hon. Minister of Finance            –     4th May, 2016 –          1pm
Hon. Minister of Solid Minerals               – 5th May, 2016 – 11am

The Honourable Ministers’ presentations will be at the Plenary Sessions of the House in Chambers. 

2 Responses to “House of Reps to Begin Sectoral Debates”

  1. Olasunkanmi Olusogo Olagunju says : Reply

    CRITICALLY ASSESS THE ROLES AND PERFORMANCE OF A PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE (PBO) AND ITS CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE BUDGET PROCESS
    INTRODUCTION
    In order to properly assess the roles and performance as well as its contribution to the budget processes to the budget process, some basic points have to be clarified. It should be noted that the oldest Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) is the Legislative Analyst’s Office in the United States founded in 1941, however, it modus operandi was limited in scope but performed a good duties for exigency of a performance based budget.
    However, the roles and performance of a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) really calls for a critical analysis because of the growing trends in their commitment to ensure that government of the country adhere to the budget and outcomes so as to prevent any avoidable doom on the overall economy. It is against this background that this will endeavour to comprehensively assess the role and performance of a Parliamentary Budget Office as well as it contributions to budget process.
    BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE
    As earlier stated, it should be noted that the earlier PBO started in the United States in 1941 with its action restricted to California. However, the modern Parliamentary Budget Office can be traced back to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) which was established in 1974 as mainly a part of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act by which the sought to re-assert its constitutional power over the government purse and create a more coherent congressional budget process (Trapp 2011).
    However, it was created as an independent fiscal institution to address any act of partisanship toward government’s spending and deficits; raise the quality of debates and scrutiny as well as promoting transparency and accountability, More so, the significance of the Parliamentary Budget Office, in terms of their roles and performance together with it contributions to the budget process will be dealt with later. What is important is to note from this foregoing is that the creation of an independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) in the United States enhanced, among other things, objective budgetary and economic analysis to the US congress (OECD 2010). Notably, the PBO is not wholly exclusive to the United States; recently, we have witnessed similar progress in other countries such as Republic of South Korea (2003), Italy (2012) and many other countries.
    More so, some third world countries have been able to imbibe modernity and transparency into their budget process by creating independent budget office. Few of these third world countries include Nigeria (2011), Mexico (1998), Kenya (2007), Philippines (1990) as well as Afghanistan (2007) to but a few.
    A BRIEF COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE COMPOSITION OF THE PBO
    We cannot have clear-cut analysis of the significance of the PBO without shedding light on the constitutional composition of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO). However, the composition of the PBO varies across countries and these variations are perhaps due to the historical and institutional frameworks of the Congress, Parliament or the Assembly they serve. The composition of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) with regards to few countries can be outlined below:
    1) US Congressional Budget Office: According to the records made available to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the US legislature appoints a director who will serve for a renewable term of Four (4) years. The director will in turn appoint 250 staffs who will make available reports and analysis available to the legislative committees, sub-committees together with individual members of the committees. Although the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) may work independently, it work is made available to the public and it work separated from the Congress.
    2) Canadian Parliamentary Budget Office: This is headed by a Parliamentary Budget Officer who is appointed by the prime minister for a renewable term of 5 years. This officer will appoint 13 staffs who assist in making analysis and reports regarding the economic and finances available to the committees or parliament. The Canadian Parliamentary Office has a budget of about 2.8 million Canadian dollars in 2008. In spite of the fact that they work independently, their work is not only connected to the Parliamentary Library but also made available to the public.
    3) United Kingdom Office of Budget Responsibility: This is headed by the Chairman who is appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer with the approval of the Treasury Select Committees of the House of Commons for a once renewable term of 5 years. The chairman appoints 15 staffs who work as part of the executive arm but mainly as an oversight board. Their budget in 2010 was 1.75 million Great Britain pounds; though they work through the mandate of the parliament but their work is made available to the public.
    4) Nigerian National Assembly Budget and Research Office: Although no comprehensive records have been made available by the legislative assembly on its composition, what is important is that The NABRO is constituted as a sub-committee headed by a parliamentarian whose appointment is ratified by either Senate President in case of the Senate or Speaker in case of the House of Representatives.
    These brief comparative explanations of the composition of the Parliamentary Budget Office have shown that their composition usually vary across countries.

    THE ROLES OF PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE
    The Parliamentary Budget Office since its inception in the modern world has been statutorily empowered to carry out some roles somas to enhance a non partisan budget analysis and processes. The roles of Parliamentary Budget Office vary across countries depending on the political, legal and the constitutional frameworks of the office.
    Based on the foregoing, here is the comparative analysis of the roles of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO):
    1) In Canada for example, the PBO has the roles of providing transparent and independent analysis to the parliament regarding the state of the nation’s finances, the government’s estimates and trends in the national economy. More so, Canadian Parliamentary Budget Office assists the government to provide laconic estimates of the financial cost of any proposal under the jurisdiction of the parliament.
    2) In case of Ugandan PBO, it has the role of supporting the parliament to provide and factual objective analysis of the economic, financial and social status of the national budget. In addition, the PBO in Uganda also provide a quarterly performance reports on the information collected from the treasury; reports the records of parliament’s recommendation to the government. It also has the roles of conducting analytical studies and reports of briefs as well as review of budget speeches to the appropriate authorities.
    3) In Nigeria, the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) has some roles which include inter-a-lia:
    i) Allaying the fear of complexity embedded in the budget processes, by so doing, it vets properly the sections of the budget available with the legislature with respect to respective ministries, departments and agencies.
    ii) It helps validate the credibility of the budget in terms of errors relating to facts and figures so as to prevent bias and partisan outcomes.
    4) The Parliamentary Budget Office provides rapid responses by raising the public awareness on the budgetary matters which are encoded in its statutory jurisdiction. The Italian testimony has shown that Parliamentary Budget Office usually assists its parliament to promote accountability by ensuring parity between the budget proposal and the fiscal issues thereby engendering long-term sustainability of the public finances.
    5) Lastly, the roles of the Parliamentary Budget Office include inter-alia providing opportunity for members of the parliament or legislature to have readily available additional analysis of the budget, evaluation and re-evaluation government expenditures. The Parliamentary Budget Office in Australia assists in providing the succinct evaluation of every budget documentation and unveiling the loopholes in the budget document.
    PERFORMANCE OF THE PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE
    1) The Performance of the Parliamentary Budget Office has shown in the area of discovering the erroneous details contained in the 2016 Nigerian budget. Initially the executive presented the budget of 6.07 trillion Nigerian naira but through critical analysis, the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) helped uncover the over valuation of about 37 billion naira thus bringing down the budget to 6.06 billion naira. Thus, through critical evaluation and analysis the NABRO unearthed this fictitious evaluation.
    2) The Parliamentary Budget Office performance is very astounding in Nigeria in terms of economic forecast. The NABRO helped the government outline the various means and manner to finance the budget through the introduction of value added tax as well as planning with the government on economic rebalancing through the introduction of inward looking policy so that government can achieve at least a balance budget in this era of global economic uncertainty.
    3) The PBO assisted Australian parliament to produce not only widely acceptable budget by all stakeholders but also performed outstandingly in the areas pertaining to facilitating transparency in delivering electoral commitments and promises. More so, it assists in ensuring that the Federal Parliaments provide necessary governance and resourceful administrative arrangements.
    4) The performance of the Parliament Budget Office in Uganda is also visible because it assists the parliament in producing analytical support to the Parliamentarians on the Budget and Economy. However, the PBO also achieved a great performance in Uganda by producing objective budgetary, fiscal and programmatic information for legislators.
    CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE BUDGET PROCESSES
    With empirical validity, the Parliamentary Budget Office in Nigeria contributes to the budget processes in some ways outline below:
    1) It contributes to the budget processes by providing the legislature alternative sources of information regarding the expenditures and spending.
    2) It contributes to the proper analysis and critical evaluation of the budget process. More so, it helps to outline the direction of the budget.
    3) It helps improve the accountability and transparency of the budget debates and processes. It gives expertise and knowledge, but not recommendations, that will help prevent corruption and treachery on part of the executive and the legislature.
    4) It allows independent budget projections; flow of funds analysis; and Nigerian National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) contributes to the reliable forecast and prediction of the risks pose by inflation on the fiscal spending and expenditures of the government.
    5) Apart from it contribution to viable budget prediction, the Parliamentary Budget Office also perform oversight function such as tax analysis. It helps weigh the impact of tax policies and proposals on the budget financing.
    CONCLUSION
    From the foregoing, it is highly imperative to note that the establishment of a Parliamentary (PBO) is extremely instrumental to fostering accountable, accurate and transparent budget proposals. This is more important because because budget processes are very cumbersome given the level of uncertainty (political and socio-economic) that characterized global outlook, hence, a legal and constitutional empowerment of a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) will help bring these uncertainties to the decision making tables.
    Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) can be deduced as a great advocate policy changes and credible budget processes. More importantly, the roles and performance as well as the contributions of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) can be seen in its ability to assist the state actors to deliver their electoral promises by assisting the government in the sphere of budget implementation and evaluation so as to ascertain whether government is operating within the purview of the budget proposals.

  2. Thank you for this initiative. I pray it will not end up in the archives.
    Programs like these are laudable but the implementation is the issue. The productivity level of Nigerians is very low and they are paid salaries for doing nothing. Why don’t we try paying for hour worked for only. Most government agencies are having huge debt emanating from unpaid salary areas.

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