2017 Budget threatened as Senate lays MTEF aside over incompleteness

Hope of the 2017 budget being passed on time dimmed with the Senate casting aside the Medium Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).

The MTEF/FSP lays the foundation for the budget and the law requires that it be passed by the National Assembly before the budget is passed. This is regardless of the fact that the budget is presented before it.

The Senate was scheduled to begin debate on the document last Tuesday but failed to consider it as it dwelt on other matters. The House of Representatives itself, was silent on the matter.

Nigerian Times checks with the National Assembly revealed that the MTEF/FSP was cast aside over what Senators say is its incompleteness

The Senate, has therefore summoned the Minister of Budget Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma and in the letter of summons signed by Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, the Senate noted that the MTEF as submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari was inadequate.

The letter dated October 19, 2016 indicated that the document submitted by the president to provide ‘holistic fiscal perspectives on the ways and manner in which the government wants to pull Nigeria out of recession’.

The letter noted that after a preliminary review of the MTEF/FSP by the Senate it came to a conclusion that the main trust of the 2017 to 2019 MTEF was to reflate the economy out of recession but added that the document failed to provide holistic data on how to achieve that objective.

The lawmakers therefore summoned the Minister of Budget and National Planning to a meeting with the leadership of the Senate on November 1 by 2pm.

Before the meeting, the Senate asked the Minister to provide a Medium Term Development plan to show the funding pattern of the 2017-2019
MTEF; a comprehensive report of the implementation of the 2016 budget; a detailed account of fiscal rates including taxes and charges upon which the 2017-2019 budget is based and a report on the structural composition of the nation’s debts and funding sources as well as account of funds borrowed and the spending pattern.

Sources in the Senate said that the Minister is expected to forward the said documents to the Senate and House of Representatives before further consideration of the MTEF will be undertaken.

“The debate on MTEF and FSP cannot hold as far as the details expected from the Minister of Budget are not in place. The Senate planned to commence the debate last Tuesday but it was put off because there is no detailed information from Budget Ministry.

The letter reads:
“Following the letter from his Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, dated 30th o September, 2016, forwarding the 2017-2019 MTEF and FSP, the Senate has begun work on the consideration of the document.

“Preliminary review suggests that the thrust of 2017-2019 MTEF and FSP, which is to reflate the economy out of recession to a sustainable and inclusive growth path, is based on the aspirations of this present administration as being articulated in the 2016-2019 Medium Term Development Plan.

“In addition, it is envisaged that the reflation of the economy will be achieved through increased capital spending in target sectors which will be financed through a stronger non-oil revenue drive, as well as increased borrowings.

“To enable the Senate objectively review the MTEF from a holistic fiscal perspective, we deem it necessary to invite you to a meeting to brief the leadership of the Senate on Tuesday, Ist November, 2016 at the National Assembly by 2pm. You are requested to please, send the following documents ahead of the meeting:

(a) The Medium-Term Development Plan(even a draft copy) upon which the 2017-2019 MTEF is founded.
(b) A comprehensive report on the implementation of the 2016 Budget (as at third quarter, September 30).

(c) All fiscal rates, charges, etc., used to derive the projected revenue in the 2017-2019 MTEF.
(d) A report on the structure/composition of the debt, funding sources, how the borrowed funds are to be spent as well as repayment plan and schedule.”