Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 24 November 2016 | 1,557 times
President Muhammadu Buhari’s request on the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) came under heavy criticism at the Senate on Wednesday when it was debated in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Balla Ibn N’Allah presented the details of the MTEF and FSP on the floor of the Upper Chamber.
The lawmaker representing Cross River Central, Senator John Enoh, while initiating the debate, noted that “the first thing to consider is the broader provisions of the MTEF and FSP.” He said that “the government must put in place negotiations for peace in the Niger Delta to achieve the 2.2 million barrels per day plan.”
Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who represents Osun West, argued that “N290 per dollar is not achievable and is unrealistic. We need to be very practical so that at the end of the day we will not worsen the state of things.”
Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West, was even more brutal in his contribution: “I want to say that this document is a lie. It is not truthful and not factual. What happened to the 2017 aspect of the MTEF 2016-2018 that was passed last year?”
Melaye added: “We must form a level of compliance to the MTEF we passed last year and its amendment. Is N290 per dollar realistic?”
Senator Ogola Foster representing Bayelsa West said: “It is very glaring that we cannot comprehend this document. What is the performance of the 2016 budget? We must understand the fact that this document is expected to present the real facts and figures of the economy.”
Senator Ahmed Sani Representing Zamfara West, however defended the documents. Sani, who claimed to be an economist, while faulted the opinions of other Senators, saying: “We cannot just sit in the Chambers and say that this document is not good. As a certified economist, I know that the government can do wonders in three months.”
Senator Gbenga Ashafa of Lagos West also speaking in support of the provisions of the documents, urging his colleagues not to just dismiss them entirely.
Senator Nafada Bayero representing Gombe North said the tension generated by the debate was understandable because “we have to get this things right because this is the right forum for this issue to be discussed as there is no other place. If we don’t get the MTEF and FSP right, definitely we will not get the 2017 Budget right.”
Senator Jibrin Barau of Kano North also helped to calm frayed nerves. “This document is a proposal. We need to make a total overhaul to avoid a breakdown of the 2017 Budget,” he said.
•Photo shows the Senate during plenary.
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