Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Three Amendment Bills, namely Public Procurement Amendment Bill, Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Bill, and Debt Management Office Amendment Bill 2020 have scaled through second reading on the floor of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly.
Leading debate on the Public Procurement Amendment Bill, Leader of the House, Rt Hon Monday Obolo, said the amendment is to open up the budgetary process through the introduction of electronic procurement system which would enable the public to participate.
Also debating in favour of the bill, the lawmaker representing Yenagoa Constituency two and Chief Whip, Hon Ebiuwou Koku- Obiyai, described the Amendment Bill as a welcome development as it expressly seeks to identify those that should constitute the Local Government Procurement board which has been left vague in the extant law.
In his contribution, the lawmaker representing Sagbama Constituency II, Hon Bernard Kenabai, noted that the Amendment Bill is a child of necessity, adding that except the state conforms to International Public Accounting best practices that would enable it access loans, grants and other financial palliatives, its budget will come under severe threat in view of the current pandemic situation.
Also speaking on the Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Bill, Obolo explained that accountability and transparency are key elements necessary to government delivering on its developmental goals.
He stressed that no effective delivery system can be achieved without transparency and citizens’ participation in the budgetary process, and noted that a dedicated website would be hosted to enable the public to engage in the process.
In his contribution, the member representing Brass Constituency II, Hon Omubo Ayonatiminyo, welcomed the Amendment Bill, saying it would reduce the workload of lawmakers as citizens would directly contribute to the budgetary process.
The three Bills were subsequently committed to the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation to report back in one week.
Earlier, the House approved the Chart of Account presented to it by Governor Douye Diri, which is in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).