ISERH Honours The Invitation Of Senate Committee On Diaspora Nongovernmental Organisation
It was a serious business as usual on Wednesday, 2nd November 2016 at the Conference Room 224, Senate New Building, National Assembly Complex, Abuja at around 2:30pm as the Senate President – His Excellency, Sen. (Dr.) Bukola Saraki CON declared open, the Interactive Session between the Senate Committee on Diaspora & NGOs and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Nigeria’s Budgeting System with a Focus on 2016 Budget Performance and 2017 Budget.
Initiative for Sound Education, Relationship & Health (ISERH) represented by its Executive Director – Mr. Abdulahi Abayomi ABDULRAHEEM joined 11 other Representatives of Non-governmental Organisations invited outside the Federal Capital Territory and other Capital Territory based Organisations in the National Discuss.
While declaring the session opened, the Senate President enjoined the session to look critically at Revenue Generation rather than over-concentration on the expenditure side of our budget. He further reiterated that we need to be specific at this time on Revenue Forecasting, Generation and Collection System. Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora & NGOs – Sen. Rose Oko, while delivering her Welcome Remarks, backed the Senate President’s points and emphasized that the Senate is seriously ready to engage NGOs at all levels of Budgetary Processes, and would like to have a Memorandum of Understanding with all the invited NGOs on the modules operandi. Senator (Dr.) Lanre Tejuoso, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health was also present to lend his voice in supports of his colleagues.
In his response to the call of the Senate President, the Executive Director, Initiative for Sound Education, Relationship & Health (ISERH) – Mr. Abdulahi Abayomi ABDULRAHEEM pointed out that there are several opened doors for the Federal Government to generating more revenues. He cited the case of ‘introduction of toll-gate fee’ that is being discussed at the Senate as one of the means of generating Revenue for the Federation’s Account, provided the Senate does the needful by making their Budget Opened for the Public. The more they prevent Nigerians from knowing the actual budget for the Senate, the more they lose the people’s confidence in them and thereafter may face a huge resistance in forcing any methodology or strategy of enlarging the Federal Revenue down the throat of Nigerians.
He further noted that the Federal Government can never successfully run this nation in isolation. He therefore called on all Senators and Honourable Members of the House of Representatives to engage with their various States’ Governments on aligning their own Budget with the Federal Government’s, so as to achieve sustainable development together as they (states) are closer to the people than the Federal Government. He also charged the Senate to see into different Education Policies being implemented by the States as these tell a lot on the overall statistics of the nation. He cited the case of Oyo State pupils that burnt down their schools consequent the Mass Failure recorded in the state. He never forgot to mention the most devastating condition of education in Osun State where 98 out of every 100 Students that sat for the State’s Qualifying Examination FAILED.
He rounded up his speech on the long awaited Social Intervention (N-power). He challenged the Senate to seriously oversee to those that would be engaged into N-Power Teach. He sounded a note of warning on recruiting Half Baked into passing knowledge into our students - ‘No one can give what s/he does not have’. He however called for speedy implementation of the project for the main purpose of relieving the hardship confronting the nation.
Mr. Clement Nwankwo,
Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC)
At the point of giving his Goodwill Message, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), pointed out how Nigerians are in shock as things are seriously yet to change for better, while all the promises of the government are yet to be delivered and actualized. He pointed out that it is high time we matched the 2016 Budget’s figures with the achievements of the budget recorded so far. In his words, ‘it seems we have no Budget for 2016!!!’.
In his own Goodwill Message, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Executive Director of African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), spelt out Lessons Learnt from 2016 Budget which includes: None-participatory of NGOs/CSOs in Budgetary Processes, Unopeness of Budgetary Processes, Failure of the Budget to addressing pressing National Issues. He ended his speech by calling on the engagement of citizens during Budgetary Processes, the same way ‘ordinary bills’ are openly debated by the public. He called for fast processes in Budgetary Passage, engagement of NGOs/CSOs, setting a realistic Budget Size etc.
Barr. Eze Onyekpere,
Center for Social Justice (CENSOJ)
Barr. Eze Onyekpere, Center for Social Justice (CENSOJ) gave his remarks on Assessing Citizens’ Priorities in Budget Formulation. He commended the Senate for recently rejected the Federal Government proposal to borrow $30 billion externally – noting that that would translate into $41 billion External Debt for the country. He pointed out that truly the nation needs intervention, but what to do with the borrowing should punctiliously spell out and supervise. He challenged the Senate to make it mandatory on themselves on interrogating sources of Budget Revenue before passing it to bill. He noted that the major challenges facing our nation now are Price Shock and Quantity Shock of crude oil. He however pointed out that the NGOs/CSOs are not coming to be Observers in the coming Budgetary Processes but rather Contributors.
ISERH EXC. DIRECTOR WITH TEAM OF KINS OF AFRICA (KINSAF) FOR DEVELOPMENT AND REINTEGRATION
The session rounded up around 5:35pm with further exchange of collaborative assurances between the Senates and the Non-governmental Organisations in attendance.
At ISERH, we believe this nation shall surely be greater than our expectations, in a few years to come if we keep up with our irresilient advocacies, fair hearings, engagements and dialogues.
Kudos to the Nigerian Senate!
ISERH sincerely appreciates the following organizations, businesses and persons for the supporting ISERH’s participation in the Session:
1. Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (for providing us with logistics)
2. IBETO HOTEL (for the warmth reception and hospitality)
3. LUGBE GUEST HOUSE (for providing us with accommodation before the plan changed to IBETO)
4. Barr. Selimot Folake Gimba
5. Mrs. Abiola Bolaji Komolafe
6. Lieutenant Colonel (Alhaja) Hassanat Sanusi
7. Mr. Rafiu Olabode Fakeyede
8. Alh. (Hon.) Sadiq Anwo Sanusi
9. All ISERH’s Board Members
10. Management, Staff & Volunteers of ISERH