Nigerian President and presidential candidate of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) Goodluck Jonathan (C) sits among party leaders during a rally in Maiduguri on January 24, 2015. Boko Haram fighters have killed 15 villagers near Maiduguri, t ~ TUNJI OMIRIN
Abuja - The Senate on Thursday passed a bill establishing an Independent National Assembly Budget and Research Office, meant to provide non-partisan budgetary information needed to process the country’s national budget.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, who led the debate, said it was processed by both houses of the National Assembly in the Sixth Assembly but was not assented to.
According to him, the bill is important to the work of the Appropriation Committee and Finance Committee of both houses as well as other relevant committees.
He said that the establishment of the office would provide relevant committee with essential non-partisan budgetary information needed to process the national budget.
"This is opposed to the current situation where the only source of information on the statistics of our budget is from the executive," he said.
The President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, in his remarks commended the lawmakers for ensuring that the bill was passed.
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Mark said the passage of the bill which had lingered for years, would provide the National Assembly with all the information needed for budget analysis.
"I want to congratulate you because my experience in this National Assembly is that we have tried to pass this bill several times.
"Luckily this time around there is no major disagreement between the Senate and the House of Representatives and we have been able to pass it.
"It is an important bill and we will establish this office at the earliest possible time," he said.
Similarly, a bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the Nigerian Army Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies, 2015 scaled the second reading.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Kabir Marafa (APC-Zamfara Central), would provide an enabling law and a legal framework for the already existing institute.