The Senate is targeting 7.5 million jobs and poverty reduction by 16.4 per cent, with 11 economic bills now receiving accelerated consideration. Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki stated this in his welcome address read on the floor of the Senate yesterday as the lawmakers resumed plenary from the end-of-the-year break. He urged the relevant
committees to fast-rack work on the bills for quick passage and submission to the executive alongside the 2017 budget. Saraki also stated that the 2017 – 2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) would be debated and passed this week, while the consideration on the 2017 Appropriation Bill would occupy the three sitting days of next week.
He urged all heads of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure timely submission of their annual budgets within the current budget cycle or risk waiting for the next fiscal cycle if they fail. He said: “As long as our economy is still in recession, our work is not done because our people are still being laid off; so long as factories are closing shops, for as long as the hardship in the land continues to bite harder, investment continues to dwindle and the foreign exchange market remains fragmented, I will be demanding even much more from us to get all our economic reform bills passed. “Ideally, we would like to see them passed together with the 2017 budget.
Let me therefore urge all our committees involved with our priority bills to double efforts to ensure that we have these bills ready by the end of the first quarter of this year. “We promise to pass our priority economic reform bills to help aid our economic recovery. This is a promise we must keep. There are already, new National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER) research findings projecting that our priority bills will have an output impact equivalent to an average of 6.87 per cent of GDP over a five-year period on the economy.
“The average annual growth in jobs is estimated at approximately 7.55 million additional employments as well as an average of 16.42per cent reduction in Nigeria’s poverty rate. “Over the projected five-year period, it is suggested that the reforms, which these bills would engender, may add an average of N3.76 trillion to national incomes (National Disposable Income was N85.62 trillion in 2014), equivalent to 4.39 per cent of 2014 figures. “These statistics make the delivery of these bills imperative and confirm evidently that we have got our priorities right so far. It is hoped that as we begin to turn our focus now towards the passage of the 2017 budget, these bills will be implemented simultaneously with the budget to enable us exit the recession quickly.
“It is therefore imperative that we immediately begin work earnestly on the MTEF to ensure passage by the end of the week. In this way, consideration and debate on the 2017 budget will immediately follow in the three “sitting days” of the next week. It is our hope that we will with this budget begin the implementation of the report of the Committee on Budget Reforms, which has since submitted its report.” He said this will enable more Nigerians to participate in the budget consideration process, deepen the review and create the necessary efficiencies we expect from our budget implementation.