May I on behalf of my distinguished and honourable colleagues humbly and warmly welcome you and your entourage to this joint session of the National Assembly.
We are delighted to have you with us this afternoon as you perform one of your constitutional responsibilities.
Over the years, we have listened to very beautiful and impressive budget speeches eloquently delivered in this chamber. Unfortunately, the implementation has not matched the words as economic policies often lack continuity and projects are needlessly discarded or abandoned.
We have what it takes to be a great nation or a world power. But we have never challenged ourselves sufficiently over the years to attain this desired goal. It is our hope and sincere belief that this budget will challenge us; and to take the challenge we must tighten our belts. To do so we must ensure that all sectors and every Nigerian irrespective of position or status is involved.
Let me remind us that in 2011 the Legislature led the way in reducing our overhead and recurrent expenditure in order to increase investment in capital expenditure and to lead by example.
We must lay emphasis on critical infrastructure, reduce revenue leakages, grow the economy, generate employment, encourage local production and promote made-in Nigeria goods. We on our part will ensure the comprehensive implementation of the 2012 budget to the letter through our oversight functions.
Let this budget be the one that will say “let there be light, and there is light; let there be roads and there are roads; let there be water, and there is water; let there be employment and there is employment; let there be medicare and it is so; and let there be food and there is food.
With these few remarks, it is now my honour and privilege to invite Mr President to deliver his speech and lay the 2012 budget proposals in accordance with Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Thank you and may the good Lord bless us all.
SEN ATOR (DR .) DAVI D A. B. M AR K , GCON, fnim
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, AND CHAIRMAN