Submitting 2018 budget without MTEF ridiculous, says Reps panel
• Senate, World Bank parley on loans for states
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, Kingsley Chinda, has described the plan by the Presidency to lay the 2018 appropriation bill before the National Assembly next month in the absence of a Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) as playing to the gallery and attracting undue media hype.
In an interview yesterday with The Guardian in Abuja, the panel chairman said the executive arm of government had not complied with the law by sending the document to the legislature for perusal.
His words: “When the executive said they will lay the budget before us in October, I think that they are saying so based on press publicity or playing to the gallery or to get accolades from Nigerians.
“As we speak, we are yet to receive the MTEF, which will be the foundation for considering the next budget.
“Therefore, as it stands, it will be difficult to consider, pass the framework and the budget proper before December as we had thought.
To back up his argument, Chinda cited Section 11 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), which requires that the MTEF must be considered first before consideration of the yearly budget proposals.
This, he noted, was to ensure acceptable projections in pricing, taxation, incomes and expenditure.
However, the Senate yesterday, met with officials of the World Bank to discuss the best approach for granting loans to state governments in the country.
It also deliberated to ensure that such facilities were judiciously deployed.
The closed-door meeting, which held in Abuja, also considered how the global lender could ensure that the loans were spent within the economy.
Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, who represented the chamber’s president, Bukola Saraki, made the explanations while briefing newsmen at the end of the session.