Senate refers MTEF, FSP to committees
Less than two hours to President Muhammadu Buhari’s presentation of the 2018 budget estimates to a joint session of the National Assembly, the Senate has referred the 2018 to 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to its joint committees.
Specifically, Senate President Bukola Saraki referred the MTEF/FSP to its joint committees on Finance, Appropriations and National Planning.
Although President Buhari is expected to present the budget proposal to both legislative chambers by 2pm on Tuesday, the MTEF/FSP was slated on the Order Paper and referred at exactly 12:06pm by lawmakers.
This comes as senators and members of House of Representatives revealed on Monday that they were yet to receive copies of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
Tuesday’s development followed a closed door session where Senate President Saraki doused the tension, following complaints of poor implementation of the 2017 budget as well as non-release of Constituency Projects worth N100 billion.
In line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, MTEF/FSP is the basis on which the national budget should be prepared.
Analysts say Buhari’s presentation of the budget without approval of MTEF/FSP by the National Assembly is like putting the cart before the horse.
Besides the MTEF, the National Assembly is yet to approve the N135.6billion virement, $5.5billion foreign loan as well as the 2017 statutory budgets of 28 Federal Government agencies before it, thereby raising concerns if the 2018 budget would be approved by December 31st, 2017.
Late submission of MTEF to the National Assembly and refusal to comply with relevant laws regarding budget preparations had always been the causes of challenges plaguing Nigeria’s budgeting process.
Section 18 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act states that: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Act or any other law, the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework shall: (1) be the basis for the preparation of the estimates of revenue and expenditure required to be prepared and laid before the National Assembly under section 81 (1) of the Constitution.
“(2) The sectoral and compositional distribution of the estimates of expenditure referred to in subsection (1) of this section shall be consistent with the medium term developmental priorities set out in the Medium Term expenditure Framework”.
Saraki did not give a timeframe within which the committee would submit its report to Committee of the Whole.
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