Teddy Oscar, Abuja
Shortly, after the 8th Senate adjourned Plenary till Tuesday, July 21, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Thursdayinaugurated two ad hoc committees on finance and legislative agenda.
Our correspondent reports that while the Ad Hoc Committee on Legislative Agenda is made up of 18 senators, the Ad Hoc Committee on Finance is made up of 10 senators.
Members of the Finance Committee include: senators Ali Ndume, Ahmed Sani Yerima, Shaaba Lafiagi, Sonni Ogbuoji, Sonni Ogbuoji, James Manager, Gbenga Ashafa, Shehu Sani, Dino Melaye and Ben Murray-Bruce.
Members of the Committee on Legislative Agenda include: senators Babajide Omoworare, Duro Faseyi, Tayo Alasoadura, Sonni Ogbuoji, Uche Ekwunife, Hope Uzodinma, Ben Murray-Bruce, George Sekibo, John Enoh, Mohammed Hassan, Ali Ndume, Binta Garba, Kabiru Gaya, Shehu Sani, Bala Na’Allah, Abubakar Kyari, David Umoru and
Speaking during the inauguration of the Ad Hoc Committee on Legislative Agenda, Saraki explained that the Committee would be saddled with the responsibility of charting a renewed course for the 8th Senate.
“(This Committee) will be doing so in total recognition of the works of yesterday, the difficulties of today and the challenges of tomorrow.
“Legislatures globally respect and fulfil a core yet central function of the parliament; which is purely scrutiny and assent giving. This is why the legislature by any global description depicts it as the link between the people and those who govern them.
“In essence, they (legislatures) do not govern, but they provide the means by which a political system can maintain the balance between effectiveness and consent, that is, between the needs of government to be able to raise resources necessary to carry out a programme of public policy and to maintain the consent of the people.
“Distinguished colleagues, the challenges ahead are very daunting and onerous in nature and this therefore requires the input of the whole committee towards generating a refined report,” Saraki said.
According to Saraki, the objectives and mission of the legislative agenda are but not limited to: increasing the institutional capacity of the Senate, building a legislative autonomy and strengthening the committee system, oversight functions, extensive representation and outreach, stakeholder and civil society involvement, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, reduction running cost, and effective legislative support system
“Owing to this enormous task, this ad-hoc committee is, therefore, tasked not to undermine the pivotal significance of this legislative agenda and the timeline thereof in the delivery of a sound report that will shape the course of the 8th Senate,” he added.
Speaking during the inauguration of the Committee on Finance, Saraki hinted that it would monitor and review the Senate finances.
“The subject of reduction in cost of governance has been a sensitive matter on the front burner of national issues in the polity, especially with regards to the legislature. While much of this could be due to an underlining ambiguity in the monthly salaries of legislators and their allowances, there still persists the need to project clarity, accountability and transparency in all legislative matters and legislators’ welfare.
“The 8th Senate, under our watch, recognises the concerns raised by Nigerians about the cost of running office most especially with the economic challenges facing our nation. The Senate will be more transparent regarding all public funds spent for the purpose of paying salaries and allowances of legislators and ensure that distinction is sufficiently made between what a legislator actually earns and what is spent to run and implement legislative business and committee activities.
“The watchword in our financial issues will be fiscal conservatism.
It is, therefore, on this arm that the Committee is mandated to carry out thorough fiscal examination on the senate finances with the aim of coming up with the best cost-effective regime in the 8th Senate,” he said.
Our correspondent reports that both committees are given one week to submit their reports.