Economy: Minister Seeks NASS Support

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The Minister of Budget and
National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has solicited the support of National Assembly for budget initiatives to bring the economy out of recession.
Udoma made the call when he delivered a keynote address at the Gallery Colloquium on “ Budget as a Critical Tool for Effective Executive-Legislative Relations,’’ in Abuja.
Udoma was represented by Director, Economic Growth Department, Mr Kayode Obasa, in the ministry.
He said that the executive had a plan to get the economy out of recession and put it back on the path of sustainable growth.
“This plan involves injecting a fiscal stimulus to provide funding for the 2016 Budget which, as we all know, had been carefully designed to reflate the economy.
“The budget was designed to reflate the economy but has, unfortunately, been affected by the revenue shortfalls.
“Thereafter, it is important to stay the course in implementing the major structural changes which had been outlined by the government in our Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP).
“The spending priorities in the 2017 Budget will be guided by the objectives we set out in the SIP,’’ he said.
The minister said that the executive needed the support of the National Assembly to drive through the initiatives which were mainly budget-related.
He said that the situation would provide a unique opportunity for the executive and the National Assembly to work together, seamlessly, in strong collaboration.
“It will provide opportunity to work in strong collaboration to demonstrate that we can succeed in getting alignment on the budget so that we succeed in turning the Nigerian economy around.
“And in this way, we will be setting a precedent for succeeding governments, as to how national interest can be placed ahead of institutional contests.’’
Udoma emphasised the need for the executive and the National Assembly to work together in the national interest to ensure that Nigerians got the best possible budget.
“ The executive and the National Assembly will benefit politically from a budget that successfully turns the Nigerian economy around and brings prosperity to our people.
“We must all remember that, if we fail, no side, whether the Executive or the National Assembly, can completely escape the blame.’’
He said that the collaboration was important to prepare a 2017 budget that would provide the needed impetus to take the economy out of recession.
“Success in producing a good 2017 budget will require strong collaboration between the Executive and the National Assembly.
“ In order to achieve this, there must be mutual understanding and ownership of national objectives and priorities.
“For instance, we should all agree that at this time of recession we need to ensure prudent allocation of resources to key capital projects.
“Also, all the key stakeholders must understand and appreciate the overall budgetary constraints as well as implications of some fiscal trade-offs,’’ he said.
“The National Assembly must not see itself as in competition with the Executive,’’ Udoma said.
The Tide source reports that Gallery is an annual colloquium convened by ORDERPAPER.NG to mark its anniversary in September every year.
It is conceived as a signature programme of the multi-media company and a platform that brings various stakeholders of democratic project together to brainstorm and proffer solutions on legislative and democratic issues.