By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
The speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa has said that the critical understanding of budgeting and budgetary process by the lawmakers was important to carrying out their oversight functions.
Obasa, who made this known in his keynote address delivered on Saturday during the opening ceremony of a 3-Day Budget Retreat organised by the Lagos Assembly at Abeokuta, Ogun state, harped on the importance of budgeting and money management to living a debt -free life.
The retreat which theme was:”Imperative of Tranformative Governance in Lagos State Through Effective Budgeting and Implementation “, aimed to refresh and equip the lawmakers with adequate knowledge so as to be able to discharge their legislative duties most especially in the area of budget Implementation monitoring.
The Speaker who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun, added “One of the most difficult situations people face in life is financial difficulties. The main reason for this is poor budgeting. Often time, people are not taught how to budget early enough in life to understand how important good money management is to living a debt-free life.
Earlier, The Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni, said that the retreat was organised to access the financial position of the state and explore ways to achieve a realistic year 2020 Budget.
Sanni said the retreat would be reviewing the extent of the implementation of the year 2019 Budget, analysing the viability of the year 2020 Budget proposal.
He stressed ” This would be achieved towards making informed position and exploring the best ways to implementing same to meet emerging challenges of the state.
“In line with the constitutional responsibilities of the House, the appropriation bill has gone through the second reading and stands committed to the relevant committees of the House for further legislative action.
“Considering the combined and determine vision, aspiration and commitment of both the House and executive of arm of government ensuring a rapid transformation of the state. This is the most particularly in the realistic fulfilment of campaign promises to the citizens,” he said.
Eshinlokun, who also spoke in his own capacity as the Deputy Speaker of the House, explained the significance of the budget retreat, he said the retreat became necessary to focus on budget preparation, implementation and monitoring as the state government is moving from not just development but to tranformative leadership.
Concerning the challenges of budget implementation, he said that it was not just a problem in Nigeria alone but both in developed and developing nations because there were so many exigencies in government and circumstances that may hamper budget implementation.
“Do not forget budget is a proposal and a forecast which can be disrupted by so many factors, that is why it is necessary to diligently follow the implementation through continuous international and external control”, he said.
The Chairman House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, Hon. Gbolahan Yishau ( Eti-Osa II) responding to questions from journalists on whether there is need for the House to step up her game on oversight functions so that the public would not be seeing her actions as witch-hunt or after-thought, like in the case of former governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the sacked Chairman of Ifako-Ijaye Local Government, Apostles Toba Oke, explained that the house does not do anything in retrospect as the house always raise those issues as they occur.
“The Speaker have said it and I am sure you heard him, most of these issues we raised them as they occur and we ask for information, sometimes, the information does not come on time, maybe the executive was stalling, you know the bureaucracy of government, but we always raise them as they happen.
Demoncracy is an environment that gives fair hearing, proper investigation must be done. Sometimes you see Police even in other climes investigating a case for 10, 20 yeears, so if the executive is not cooperating it will drag things, nothing is done in retrospect here, that much I can asure you”,Yishau maintained.
On if there is a mechanism to measure effectiveness of such training programme so it does not become another episode in the litany of legislative rituals, Yishau said budget performance was the parameter to measure.
The best way to measure is performance, for instance, if we are able to ensure that this budget perform to maximun percentage using Key Performance Indicators KPI, then, the training is effective.
We had a lot of problems in the last administration as to staying within the budget and that has really derailed measuring performance indexes but I am sure we will get it right with this new administration “, he said.
In line with Yishau’s position, Hon. Bisi Yusuf (Alimosho I) also expressed optimism that the House may not likely have problem with the new administration regarding budget implementation.
“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu have started well, if he continues like this ,we may not have problem with him in the area of budget implementation and in delivering the dividend of democracy to the good people of Lagos state unlike in the last administration”. Yusuf said.
The Resource Person, Rev. Olusoga Badejo, spoke on the topic;”An Overview of Budgeting Process “.
Badejo while quoting from Section 121(1) of the 1999 constitution as amended, explained that a budget becomes a legal document upon preparation and approval and must be implemented as such.
He however, noted that an effective budget planning can never take the place of executive ability in terms of performance, therefore, good budgeting must be matched with good administrative ability for success to be achieved.
Badejo said that government could not afford to do things with impunity which was an advantage of budget, explaining that budget retreat helps to understand the effective control of the activities of every ministry and department.