By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, Ph.D, has disclosed plans by the 10th House to convene a town hall meeting with stakeholders on the 2024 Appropriation Bill about to be laid before a joint session of the National Assembly by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.
This, he said, would allow Nigerians to participate in the consideration and passage of the budget.
Speaker Abbas made this known while declaring open a one-day capacity building retreat for chairmen and deputy chairmen of House committees held in Abuja on Monday.
At the event were the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu; Chief of Staff to the President and former Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; a former President of the Senate and ex-Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; many members of the House as well as representatives of Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and YIAGA Africa, who provided support for the retreat.
The Speaker stated that in line with its mantra, ‘Peoples House,’ the 10th House was committed to greater and more transparent engagement with the public.
Speaker Abbas added that this was necessary for reducing suspicion, building trust and generating support for the work of the National Assembly.
He said: “As we expect to receive the 2024 Appropriation Bill in a few days, I wish to state that the House will convene a Budget Town Hall Meeting to enable citizens to make inputs into the 2024 Appropriation. It is the first time such an engagement is planned at the national level.
“I invite our partners to work with us in preparing for a vigorous and all-inclusive budget process.
“To ensure speedy passage of the 2024 budget, I charge all committees to double their efforts and finalize all considerations in two weeks.
“However, this does not imply haphazard and superficial consideration of the budget. Rather, it is a challenge to you to deploy all resources and make the needed sacrifices to ensure we pass the budget in good time for the good of all Nigerians.”
Speaker Abbas noted that committees play a crucial role in the legislative process, and have been called the ‘engine room’ of the parliament.