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Senate plans bill to establish new budget office at National Assembly 

The Senate has advanced a bill aimed at establishing the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO).

Sponsored by Deputy President of the Senate, Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North), the proposed legislation, formally known as “A Bill for an Act to establish the National Assembly Budget and Research Office which provides the National Assembly with objective, timely and non-partisan analysis needed for economic and budget decisions and for related matters, 2024 (SB.363),” seeks to usher in a new era of informed policymaking within Nigeria’s legislative framework. 

Introduced by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) on behalf of Senator Barau, who was presiding over the session, the bill envisions the creation of an autonomous entity dedicated to furnishing the National Assembly with detailed and impartial fiscal analysis and budgetary insights. 

This initiative is aimed at fortifying the legislative body with the necessary tools to make enlightened economic and budgetary decisions, thereby enhancing the government’s accountability and the effectiveness of public spending. 

Echoing the sentiment, Senator Solomon Olamilekan (APC, Ogun West) highlighted the establishment of NABRO as a critical step in aligning Nigeria’s budgetary practices with international standards, emphasizing the office’s role in providing a comprehensive review of budgetary documents. 

The discussion also touched upon the imperative need to amend the bill’s title to include the term “Independent,” a suggestion put forth by Senator Seriake Dickson (PDP, Bayelsa), to emphasize the fundamental importance of the office’s autonomy in its operations and analyses. 

Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North) articulated the broader implications of the bill, suggesting that its enactment by President Bola Tinubu would empower the National Assembly to fulfil its legislative duties more effectively, leveraging enhanced authority in budgetary approvals to ensure responsible and judicious use of resources. 

Despite overwhelming backing, concerns were raised by Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North) regarding the potential financial burden the new office might impose on the nation’s governance expenses. 

These apprehensions, however, did not deter the bill’s progression, as it successfully cleared a voice vote, led by Senator Barau, and was referred to the Committee on Appropriations for further deliberation, with expectations for a comprehensive review within two weeks.