OrderPaperToday – Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has stated that the 2018 budget of the National Assembly will be made available to be public.
Sen. Lawan said this would be in line with an ‘Open Week Event’ coming up June 25 to 29 at the National Assembly Complex.
It is also premised on initiatives adopted by other parliamentarians in the world, he added.
The Senate Leader made this known while briefing newsmen journalists on the objectives of the “Open NASS’’ initiative designed to increase public access to the operations of the National Assembly.
Lawan who is the chairs the Special Committee of the event said, “giving the public access to legislative information, activities and policies are substantial steps towards empowering them to take part in political dialogue and decision-making processes.
“Allowing public access to the legislature allows stakeholders to scrutinize our actions as an institution, such public engagement can lead to greater trust in government.
“We have nothing to hide; being able to access this information significantly reduces suspicion and generates trust,’’ he said.
He declared that governments around the world are open and transparent are more accountable to their citizens and are less likely to be corrupt.
According to him, “openness generates trust in government and also paves the way for meaningful participation by citizens and more informed and better policies.
“Around the world, an increasing number of parliaments are being more proactive in the provision of information. This has become easier with the proliferation of the internet and access to Information Communication Technology (ICT).
“Many parliaments are now uploading significant documents such as daily order papers, draft laws and committee reports for distribution.
“It is against this background that the National Assembly has initiated the Open Week to open the National Assembly to the public.’’
Speaking more on the event, the Senate Leader noted that there would be series of interactive sessions between legislators and key stakeholders such as executive arm of government on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Judiciary on pre- and post-elections adjudication.
“It also includes exhibitions and tours, planned over a four-day period to raise awareness on legislative initiative and activities,” he noted, adding that there would be a session with state assemblies and a session with trade unions on economic growth and industrial relations.”
Other sessions will involve traditional rulers and pressure groups, civil society organisations on accountability and service delivery in governance as well as sessions with women, youth, and student bodies.
He informed that, “the exercise will feature daily exhibitions for National Assembly Committees to display their outputs and interface with stakeholders via cluster units to be created from both chambers for ease of access.
“The benefits of the Open Week are numerous and have direct bearing on democratic governance in Nigeria. Through the Open Week, the National Assembly is fostering public participation in the democratic process.”