Budget Management Office Bill Passes Second Reading

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CEM REPORT, FINANCE | A bill for the establishment of a budget management office passed second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The bill task the office with the responsibility of the planning, presenting, implementing and monitoring the national budgets.

According to the sponsors of the bill – Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, and Hon. Henry Nwawuba, a director-general appointed by the President will oversee the office’s operations in line with the legal framework, including submitting annual reports on budget implementation/performance to the National Assembly.

The duties of the office according to the bill will include “prepare the annual budget proposal for presentation to the National Assembly by the President; supervise the implementation of the budget by ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government to ensure compliance with the law and policies of the administration; and evaluate the effectiveness of programs, policies, and procedures of the ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government to ensure consistency with governing priorities.

Additional, the office will “provide budget function, implement budget and fiscal policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria; improve the budget process by imposing compliance with strict timelines for the budget process in the National Assembly; apply concrete indicators to measure the performance of the annual budget to ensure delivery of the expected development outcomes as set out in various development plans; oversee the implementation of the budgets of the federal government to ensure accuracy and fiscal transparency; approve the withdrawal of statutorily approved funds from the federation accounts to implement the appropriations law of the federal government; provide quarterly reports of budget performance and implementation to the National Assembly, and perform all other functions incidental to the effective management of the budget process in the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

The bill also stipulates penalties for anyone or organ that hinders the DG or staff of the office from performing the lawful duties as spelt out in this framework when passed into law.

According to Part V of the bill makes the following provision, “A person who — without justification or lawful excuse, obstructs, hinders, assaults or threatens the Director-General or their members of staff acting under this Act; knowingly submits false or misleading information; or knowingly misrepresents to or misleads the Director-General or a member of his or her staff acting under this Act, commits an offence and is liable, or conviction, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years, a fine of N5 million or both.”

Another provision stipulates a jail term of two years or a N1 million fine or both.

“A person who violates sections 25, 26 and 27 of this Bill is guilty of an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years, a fine of N1,000,000 or both penalty,” another part of the bill said.

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