Bill to establish NASS budget office scales second reading in Senate

Sharon EboesomiMarch 1, 20244 min

The budget office will ensure to scrutinise budget estimates of the executive and monitor the implementation of annual budget estimates.

Bill to establish NASS budget office scales second reading in Senate

The Senate has passed for a second reading a Bill seeking to establish the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO).

The bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to establish the National Assembly Budget and Research Office which provides the National Assembly with objective, timely and non-partisan analysis needed for economic and budget decisions and for related matters, 2024 (SB.363)” was sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North).

However, because Barau was presiding over Thursday’s plenary, the bill was presented by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central).

Leading the debate Bamidele informed lawmakers that the Bill seeks to create an independent institution that will be entrusted with the duty of offering the National Assembly a thorough analysis of fiscal issues and budgetary decisions. 

According to him, the objective of the office is, “to provide the National Assembly with objective, timely and nonpartisan analysis, information and estimates needed for economic and budget decisions to provide independent unbiased and nonpartisan analysis of this every phenomenon of government budget estimate. 

“To provide independent and continuous review and monitoring of existing and proposed programmes and budgets for the federal government.

“To provide analysis of the economic implications of the federal budget on the private sector and the budgetary and financial implication of any proposed legislation, when so required by any Committee of the National Assembly.”

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On his part, Senator Solomon Olamilekan (APC, Ogun West) noted that establishing the budget office will help assist in monitoring the economics of the budgetary documents.

“One of our priorities as contained in the legislative agenda is to see to the establishment of this office but for two consecutive terms, we were unable to achieve this. But this time around, the 10th Senate has taken the bull by the horn to ensure that for the first time, in accordance with global best practices, we have an independent Budget Office that will run concurrently with the Budget office of the Executive.

Also supporting the Bill, Senator Seriake Dickson (PDP, Bayelsa), emphasised the necessity to amend the title of the Bill to incorporate the term “Independent” to underscore the crucial aspect of independence in the function and operations of the office.

On his part, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North) said, “The bill, if granted access by President Bola Tinubu will enable the National Assembly, the legislature at the highest level in this country to answer the name “National Assembly” that is empowered because there’s more power in terms of approvals for expenditures in the National Assembly and if we have that power, we must use it properly and appropriately.”

While most Senators voiced strong support for the bill, Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North) disagreed based on the office’s establishment, expressing a dissenting opinion, questioning the necessity of creating a new institution and its financial impact on the expense of governance. 

The Bill which was eventually put to a voice vote by Barau, got the support from a majority of the Senators and was immediately passed for a second reading and referred to the Committee on Appropriations for further legislative action. The Committee is expected to report back within two weeks.

Sharon Eboesomi

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