Buhari Submits Medium Term Expenditure Framework To Senate

A file photo of President Buhari signing a document.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday submitted the 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the Senate.

President Buhari forwarded the MTEF and FSP in a letter addressed to the Senate President.

READ ALSO: Reps Receive Medium Term Expenditure Framework For 2020-2022

In the letter, President Buhari said the 2020-2022 MTEF FSP was prepared taking into account key developments in the global and domestic environment. He added that he is trusting that it will be expeditiously considered by the Senate.

“It is with pleasure that I hereby submit the 2020 – 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) to the Senate.

“Let me use this medium to express my gratitude for the much-improved partnership between the legislative and the executive arms of the Federal Government in our goal of making the budget process deliver better outcomes for the Nigerian people in particular.

“I note with further appreciation, the commitment and support that Distinguished Senators have continued to demonstrate. Pursuant to the provision of the fiscal responsibility Act 2007, the preparation towards the submission of the 2020 budget to the National Assembly is progressing well,”the letter reads.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan earlier last week said the Upper Chamber is anxious to receive the MTEF and 2020 Budget from the executive and promised that the Senate will consider the MTEF within the first week of resumption.

“We hope to take on the MTEF within the first legislative week. Our committee on Finance will be saddled with its first major responsibility that it works expeditiously on the Fiscal Strategy Paper/Medium Term Expenditure Framework’s request of the executive arm of government and thereafter the budget will come after that,” the Speaker said.

 

MTEF Meeting Stalls As Ministers, Heads Of Agencies Fail To Show Up

 

The chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Ibrahim Babangida, has adjourned the meeting on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy with ministers and heads of agencies.

According to Babangida, the meeting could not hold as the key players failed to turn up.

The lawmaker who spoke with journalists after the meeting was postponed, said their absence will delay the passage of the document.

READ ALSO: MPC Reduces Monetary Policy Rate For First Time In Over Two Years

“We are here today, unfortunately, we discovered that almost all the Heads of Agencies that are key in discussing the issue of MTEF are not here; The Minister of National Planning, Minister of Finance, Accountant-General of the Federation, Comptroller of Customs, Chairman of FIRS, GMD of the NNPC, Director of the BPE, CBN, are all not here; in fact, the only available person is the DG of Debts Management.”

The lawmaker stated that; “we cannot proceed to discuss the MTEF In the absence of the key players. That is why we have to adjourn the meeting, we are going to give them a new date next week and we hope they will attend to our invitations.”

President Buhari Presents 2017 Budget To National Assembly

Buhari To Present 2017 Budget To National Assembly On WednesdayNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has presented the 2017 appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly.

The President gave the assurance that there will be no such thing as budget padding in the document.

He condemned what he termed injecting rogue projects and figures into the financial document, saying it is unfair to Nigerians and detrimental to the growth of the economy.

Meanwhile the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma says the federal government intends to spend 10 trillion naira and will issue new oil licenses as part of efforts to explore new streams of revenues to fund the 2017 budget.

Udoma made this known when he appeared before the Senate joint committee on appropriation and finance to defend the revised Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

He said that the federal government would also review the current joint venture arrangements with oil companies, marginal oil fields as well as mount pressure on revenue generating agencies to surpass expected targets.

Udoma said a total of 10 trillion was being targeted by the federal government as revenue for the 2017 fiscal year.

According to him, out of this amount, about 5 trillion Naira is expected to be generated from the sale of crude oil. Non-oil revenues will rake in about 5.06 trillion Naira.

 

FG Reviews Parameters In MTEF

Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEFThe Federal Government has reviewed the parameters in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, made this known at an interactive session with the Senate Committee on Finance.

Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja, Senator Udoma noted that the Federal Government set the benchmark price of crude at $42.5 per barrel.

He adds that the new deficit to GDP ratio is now at 2.18 while the official exchange rate is now 305 up from 290 to a dollar earlier set.

Economic growth rate has also been reduced from 3.02% to 2.5%.

Meanwhile, the Senate is to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the failure of one of its subsidiaries, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to remit over five billion dollars to the Federation Account.

Senator Dino Melaye, in a motion, alleged that since 2013 to date, the NPDC has continued to lift crude oil from divested oil wells OML 61, 62 and 63 worth over $3.487 billion without remitting to the Federation Account.

The Senate has mandated its committees of petroleum upstream and finance to investigate the level of the alleged corruption with a view to recovering every fund due to the Federation Account.

How Senate Criticised Executive’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework

Nigerian Senate on MTEF and FSPThe Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper  (FSP) prepared by Nigeria’s Executive Arm of Government has come under heavy criticism in the Senate.

Most Federal lawmakers say the policy document is a fraud, unrealistic and misleading.

Lawmakers on Wednesday deliberated on the MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) after accusing the executive of sending a document to them that was empty and lacked enough details for lawmakers to deliberate on.

Consideration of the documents that contained President Muhammadu Buhari 2017-2019 MTEF and FSP in accordance with the nation’s Fiscal Responsibility Act began after its details were presented to the Senators by the Deputy Senate Leader Na’Allah.

First to comment on the documents was the Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

He said: “We are looking at assumptions and assumptions might not be correct. Let us forward the documents to the appropriate Committee”.

Senator John Enoh told the Senators that the first thing to consider was the broader provisions of the MTEF and FSP, insisting that the executives must put in place negotiations for peace in the Niger Delta to achieve the 2.2 million barrels per day plan contained in the document.

In the documents the executives had presented different figures that will set the stage for the country’s annual budget.

The MTEF and FSP are proposing a budget that will be predicated on an oil revenue benchmark of $42.5 per barrel between 2017-2019, a Gross Domestic Product growth projection of 3.02%, an average oil projection of 2.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) in 2017, a 2.3 mbpd in 2018 and a 2.4 mpbd in 2019.

It also projects an average exchange rate of 290 Naira per dollar.

Host Of Criticism

But the lawmakers had a host of issues with the projections in the policy document.

 

Senator Isiaka Adeleke insisted that the 290 Naira per dollar was not achievable and unrealistic while Senator Dino Melaye described the document as ‘a lie’.

“It is not truthful and is not factual. What happened to the 2017 aspect of the MTEF 2016-2018 that was passed last year?

“We must form a level of compliance to the MTEF we passed last year, what is the amendment, is 290 Naira per dollar realistic?” he questioned.

While Senator Foster Ogola told the Senate that the documents were expected to present the real facts and figures of the economy another Senator, Hassan Mohammed, pointed out that the GDP proposed for 2016 was very unrealistic.

“I don’t understand the basis of it. We should look at the MTEF and FSP and tell the executive to urgently look at them. They are unrealistic,” Senator Mohammed stressed.

Senator Sam Anyanwu, on his part, expressed pleasure with the agreement seen between the members of different political parties in the Senate.

“For the first time Senators of both APC and PDP are agreeing that the MTEF and FSP are unrealistic.

“For me, there is no document before us the MTE and FFSP should be sent back to the executive,” he suggested.

Senator Joshua Lidani also suggested that the executives should rework the document before it would be treated by the Senate.

“The Government needs to take the bull by the horn, the Senate should either tinker adjust it or return it.”

Another Senator, Biodun Olujimi said: “The MTEF and FSP has not received the performance of the 2016 Budget to contrast with the 2017 budget.

“This is not what we expected, it is incomplete the MTEF and FSP is Voo Doo oriented”.

While criticisms continued to pour in, in reaction to the proposal of the Executive Arm of Government, some other Senators called for caution and proper consideration of the documents.

Ahmed Sani told the Senate that they could not just sit in the chambers and say that the document was not good.

“As a Certified Economists, I know that the government can do wonders in three months,” he insisted.

Senator Ahmed Lawan stressed the need for the Senate to be very practical “so that at the end of the day we will not worsen the state of things”.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who also spoke in support of the MTEF and FSP, urged his colleagues not to just criticise the documents entirely.

After the debate on the issue, Senate President Bukola Saraki appreciated his colleagues for their contributions and gave his opinion on the MTEF and FSP.

“Let me state some guiding principles. The MTEF and FSP are assumptions and estimates. Some are unrealistic. Oil Prices, GDP and Exchange Rates are unrealistic. We have the responsibility to work on it, use our Committees to look at the MTEF and FSP again and turn it around.

“We won’t take documents from the executive and send it back that way. Committees should take the comments of everybody and use it to decide.

“We should take a debate on 2016 budget performance before we do a debate on the report of the Committee,” Senate President Bukola Saraki concluded.

He then asked the Senate if the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper document should be referred to the Committees on Finance and Appropriations for further legislative action and the Senators answered in the affirmative.

Senate Proposes New Budget Calendar

Senate, Budget CalendarNigeria’s Senate has proposed the adoption of a budget calendar that will begin with the submission of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) by the second week in July and end with the President signing the Appropriation Bill into law by the third week of December annually.

The new measure was contained in a report submitted to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, on Monday by the Senator Ali Ndume-led Technical Committee on Reforming the Budget Process in Nigeria.

The strategies, which also include the provision of laws on development plans by the Federal Government, are aimed at easy and timely preparation of the budget and its efficient implementation.

The measures propose a budget calendar to ensure that the President assents to the appropriations law by the third week of December while the MTEF is submitted in the second week of July as the first step in the budget process.

The Senate would also discuss at plenary, other reports such as amendments of the relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution and extant laws as well as enactment of new laws to improve the country’s budgetary process and align it to international best practices.

Other key recommendations in the report submitted on Thursday, November 3 are the proposed provision of a legal backing for national development plans and enactment of organic budget law to fix a realistic budget calendar.

Saraki Denies Friction Between Legislature And Executive

Saraki Denies Friction Between Legislature And ExecutiveSenate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has dismissed insinuation in some quarters of a frosty relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government.

Dr. Saraki was speaking to State House correspondents shortly after holding a meeting with the President, following the Friday jumat prayers in the Presidential Villa.

He said that both arms of government are working to move Nigeria forward.

He asked Nigerians not to politicize the Senate’s rejection of the President’s request for foreign borrowing.

“Don’t let us politicize very important issues. As we said, this is work in progress,” he said.

The Senate has explained that it turned down the external borrowing request due to “lack of documents supporting the request as referenced in the letter” from the President.

President Buhari wrote to the National Assembly seeking its approval for an external borrowing of 29.9 billion dollars to ensure the prompt implementation of projects.

The Senate had also accused the Executive of submitting an incomplete Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the National Assembly.

The National Assembly is required to pass the MTEF and FSP before working on the 2017 budget.

At Thursday’s legislative proceedings, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, drew the attention of the lawmakers to a statement credited to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udo Udoma, in a newspaper report.

Senator Ndume said that the Minister allegedly stated that the National Assembly was to be blamed for any delay in the presentation of the 2017 budget.

He also claimed that the MTEF, which the Executive submitted to the Senate was empty, adding that it has hindered work on the policy document.

The lawmaker alleged that attempts to get Mr Udoma to submit the necessary documents on the MTEF to the Senate have been unsuccessful.

He also purported that the Minister has not replied the letter or made himself available for scheduled meetings.

Senate Accuses Executive Of Submitting Incomplete MTEF

National Assembly, Senate, Executive, MTEF, FSPThe Nigerian Senate has accused the Executive of submitting an incomplete Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the National Assembly.

The National Assembly is required to pass the MTEF and FSP before working on the 2017 budget.

At Thursday’s legislative proceedings, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, drew the attention of the lawmakers to a statement credited to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udo Udoma, in a newspaper report.

Senator Ndume said that the Minister allegedly stated that the National Assembly was to be blamed for any delay in the presentation of the 2017 budget.

He also claimed that the MTEF, which the Executive submitted to the Senate was empty, adding that it has hindered work on the policy document.

The lawmaker alleged that attempts to get Mr Udoma to submit the necessary documents on the MTEF to the Senate have been unsuccessful.

He also purported that the Minister has not replied the letter or made himself available for scheduled meetings.

On Tuesday, October 4, President ‎Muhammadu Buhari forwarded to the National Assembly, the MTEF which showed a proposal to spend 6.8 trillion Naira on the 2017 budget with the debt servicing of 1.6 trillion Naira.

The receipt of the document was acknowledged at plenary by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

Based on the MTEF, the oil benchmark price is put at $42.50 per barrel with 2.2 million barrels of oil production per day and an exchange rate of 290 Naira to a dollar.

The document also states that 65 billion Naira will be spent on the Amnesty Programme while 350 billion Naira will be spent on the special intervention programme in 2017.

Falana Petitions EFCC On Abacha Loot

Abacha LootA Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate how $4 billion recovered from former military Head of State, General Sani Abacha was spent by the federal government.

The human rights activist wants the EFCC to specifically confirm the actual amount recovered from the Abacha loot and the extent of the alleged diversion of the said loot by former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki and others.

The Lagos lawyer, who made this request in a petition dated December 18, 2015, and which was sent to the anti-graft agency, said that “unless the Abacha loot is fully accounted for, the Buhari administration will find it difficult to receive the cooperation of many governments in the ongoing efforts to recover the stolen wealth of the country”.

He also said, “Following the death of the then military Head of State, General Sani Abacha on June 8, 1998, his successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar  ordered a  probe into the looting of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1993-1998.

“At the end of the enquiry it was established that the late dictator stole about $5 billion from the vaults of the CBN through his National Security Adviser, Mr Mohammed Gwazo. A substantial part of the stolen fund has since been traced to over 140 bank accounts in western countries and some remote islands in the world.

“Based on the report of the investigations, the Federal Government recovered $635 million, £75 million, DM 30 million and N9 billion as well as several vehicles and properties in Abuja, Lagos and Kano together with 40% interests in West African Refinery in Sierra Leone.

“At page 495 of the second volume of  his book entitled  “My Watch” former President Obasanjo stated that “…by the time I left office in May 2009, over $2 billion and £100 million had been recovered from the Abacha family abroad, and well as  N10 billion in cash and properties locally.

“Under the Goodluck Jonathan Administration the recovery efforts continued and over $1 billion was recovered.

“But in a desperate bid to cover up the gross mismanagement and criminal diversion of the Abacha loot, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had repeatedly maintained that only $500 million had been recovered by the federal government.

“To lend credence to the fraudulent claim, the World Bank confirmed in a reply to an enquiry by SERAP that the $500 million recovered from the loot had been judiciously spent on some phantom development projects in several parts of the country.

“But following the recent revelation by the online tabloid, Premium Times that a substantial part of the loot had been criminally diverted, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has admitted that she transferred $322 million from the Abacha loot to former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki to prosecute the war on terror.

“Apart from the said sum of £322 million, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala also released £5.5 million pounds to Col. Dasuki.

“Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s excuse that the said sum of $322 million was released due to the urgency of the crisis in the north east region is untenable having regards to the fact that former President Jonathan had sought the approval of the National Assembly to take a loan of $1 billion to equip the armed forces to fight insurgency.

“Therefore, the self-induced urgency created by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is not a justification for spending public funds without appropriation. It may interest you to know that the sum of $500 million allegedly spent on development projects was also not appropriated by the National Assembly.”

Federal Executive Council Meeting Postponed      

Executive Council The Federal Executive Council meeting earlier scheduled for Friday morning has been postponed till Monday, December 21.

Channels TV correspondent reports that most of the ministers had arrived before they were informed about the postponement.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, told newsmen that the postponement was to allow the ministers reflect on some of the corrections made on the 2016 budget proposal during a meeting of the National Economic Council held on Thursday.

“We are being given time between now and Monday to go and rejig our figures because when the National Economic Council met yesterday, certain issues were thrown up which if not resolved will distort the entire budget proposal.

” So we are all going to get back on areas in which each ministry will go and do its own rejigging,” he said.

Abacha Loot: NEC Puts Figure At $26.4m And £19m

AbachaThe National Economic Council says the loots recovered from late General Sanni Abacha now stands at $26.4 million and £19 million as at November.

At the end of the Council meeting on Thursday, presided over by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, gave reporters the figures.

Earlier in the meeting the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, presented the figures.

Mr Idris said the dollar account, as at November 2015 ending, had a balance of $26.389 million while the pounds sterling account had a balance of £19. 033 million.

The Accountant General also reported to the Council that the ECA stood at $2.257 billion as at the end of November, 2015.

Also giving the Council an update on the nation’s economy, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, pointed out that the drop in oil price had put a serious pressure on the country’s reserve which currently stands at $29 billion.

He also put the interest on the account at $599 million.

The Minister of National Planning, Udo Udoma, also told reporters that his ministry had presented the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper, which highlight government’s fiscal policy strategy and direction for the next three years, to the Council.

He urged the states to adopt the MTEF and FSP which had now been approved by the national assembly.