Barring last-minute move, the National Assembly was yet to receive the details of the Federal Government 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan of $29.9 billion, 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) from the Executive arm of government, checks last night revealed.
Sources close to the leadership of the National Assembly said yesterday that the details demanded by the lawmakers as precondition for the consideration of the President’s requests has not been submitted.
Recall that both chambers of the National Assembly had on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 read a letter dated Friday, September 30, 2016, personally signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, signalling the that preparations of the 2017 budget was in the offing.
The details of the 2017–2019 MTEF and FSP show that, out of the N6.866 trillion proposed for the 2017 Budget, the government projects N1.765 trillion for capital expenditure while N2.563 trillion is for recurrent (non-debt expenditure) and N1.639 trillion for debt service.
The documents also indicated that the federal government has projected budget benchmark price of $42.5 per barrel and oil production volume of 2,200,000 per day, and an exchange rate of N290 to $1.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), 2007, makes statutory provisions requiring the Federal Government to prepare the MTEF and FSP – a three-year planning tool that defines government’s economic, social and development objectives and priorities, and also details the strategies to achieving them.
It would be recalled that the President had in a letter dated Thursday, October 20, 2016, requested the National Assembly to approve a $29.960 billion borrowing plan meant for special national infrastructure projects. Buhari’s letter was however read on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.
Both requests were rejected by the Senate at different plenary sessions last week due to non-submission of accompanying details by the relevant department of government.
Meanwhile, the Senate will today reconvene for the week with the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, presiding in the absence of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who will be at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for the continuation of his trial.
Some Bills bothering on the amendment of some Sections of the 1999 Constitution will scale through the First Reading ritual while about five Motions on decongestion of prisons; addressing youth unemployment; removal of barriers in recruitments, among others, will be attended to and resolutions taken by the Senate.