The Senate yesterday said that failure to implement national plans and visions since 1999 is behind the country’s underdevelopment and called for political will to address the issue.
The Senate which also accepted its failure on legislation and oversight that will ensure that the budget is in line with the country’s plans and vision, decried abandoned projects amounting to trillions of naira.
To avert reoccurrence, the red chamber have resolved to organise a roundtable headed by its committees on Finance, National Planning and Appropriation.
It is expected that the National Assembly committees are to invite all stakeholders in the budgeting process to look at the issues that will guide future development.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over the plenary said the Senate committee on National Planning would lead others in organising the round table.
Omo-Agege said just listening to the debate on the motion, he came to a conclusion that Nigeria does not lack ideas, insisting that the country has resources but added that there should be political will.
This followed a motion sponsored by Sen Stella Oduah (Anambra North) on the need to establish a visionary budget-driven national planning framework for Nigeria.
Stella had prayed that the Senate should mandate its committees on Appropriations, National Planning and Finance, to conduct a thorough review of Nigeria’s budgeting practices as well as national planning process, with a view to creating a more synergized and collaborative system that is both effective and efficient.
While briefing the members of the Senate Press Corps after plenary, Stella said the motion seeks to ensure a visionary budget that will properly work for the people.
She said budgeting and national planning have to be in tandem with global best practices and in line with the aspirations and demands of Nigerians.
“It’s about having a proper circle for the budgeting process so that we don’t have a gap with proper planning as the key player,” Stella said adding that the round table discussion will help the players to talk about the budgeting plan in line with the administration’s goals regardless of party.
She said that there should be penalty for non-compliance with such policy, insisting that Nigeria’s underdevelopment was not about lack of money, but that there was no proper planning and enforcement.
The Senate deputy whip, Sabi Abdullahi, said Nigeria’s lack of clear legislative intervention led to the failed national development plans.
Sabi said that they discussed the issue in the 8th Senate and that they were still discussing it adding that if proper action is not taken, the next (10th) Assembly will still discuss the same issue.
“Lack of proper planning is the reason behind abandoned projects which are in trillions,” he said adding that they must have political will for the development plan to work.
Also, Sen Aisha Dahiru Ahmed Binani (Adamawa Central), in her contribution, called for visionary budget.
Albert Bassey Akpan (Akwa-Ibom North East), said the medium term frame work is always not connected with the vision and the national planning of the country.
Sen Barau Jibrin (Kano North), said that lack of national planning has continued to be a problem of the country which he said is affecting national development.
Adeola Solomon Olamilekan (Lagos) said that Nigeria must come up with a plan that will work for all the people, adding that they must block all the leakages.
Sen Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun Central) also disclosed that the motion was beautiful adding that despite the wonderful ideas Nigeria has had, all the visions including the vision 2020 have come to meet them undeveloped.
“Vision A will come, vision B will also come without much planning on it. The rail ways that started in 2007 were stopped by another administration,” Amosun said adding that they must force the executive to follow the national plan.
“Our plans failed because the country don’t have the political will,” Amosun added.
Contributing, Sen Ishaku Abbo (Adamawa North), said the budget process was very scandalous adding that the drafters of the budget stay in their offices to do an estimate for people in an area they don’t know.
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