Senate faults MTEF/FSP, Buhari to present budget on December 1
Senators yesterday took turns to fault several aspects of the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Programme (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP). They however, expressed their determination to make it realistic and implementable.
Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, had while seconding the motion that the MTEF document be referred to the Senate committees on Finance, Appropriation and Finance for a thorough overhaul, disclosed that the President had sent a message to the Senate leadership through the Senate President that he would present the 2017 budget proposal to the National Assembly on December 1, 2016.
According to Akpabio, “We can see that we don’t have a perfect document in our hands but of course we are looking at assumptions and this may not necessarily be correct. I want to suggest that we send it to the committee. Of course, the committee will invite the relevant agencies and ministries of government. And they will come up with a more realistic MTEF/FSP. I believe also that looking at the date that this was submitted to the Senate, it was submitted to the Senate on the 4th of October and we are debating it today on the 22nd (of November). So, a lot of indices must have changed.”
Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) said: “Mr. President, the Central Bank of Nigeria just said that huge debts are responsible for recession and there is no other factual factor responsible for recession than our huge debts. I want to say this document that I have before me, this MTEF proposal and projections of the 2017 to 2019 is a lie. This document is not truthful, it is not honest. It is not transparent and is not factual.”
According to Melaye, “The GDP is going down and this MTEF document is telling me that it is going up. So, how do you align this?”
Senator Ahmed Lawal (APC Yobe State) expressed the view that the Senate had to do a serious rework of the document to prevent Nigeria from having a very unrealistic budget.
Senator Bayero Nafada (APC, Gombe State) stated that the executive did a bad job, pointing out that once an MTEF was incorrect, it means the budget would be faulty.
Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos State) lamented that the poor packaging of the MTEF was a demonstration of the fact that the economic team of the President was in disarray.
According to him, the poor preparation of the MTEF shows that the executive has no plans to take Nigeria out of the recession.
Saraki appealed to the senators to allow the MTEF/FSP documents be reworked by its committees.