[The Legislative Blog]: President Buhari’s MTEF document is no document – Senate members are still not convinced

Members of the Nigerian Senate had no good words for President Buhari’s MTEF and FSP documents at plenary today.

The 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Sustainability Paper was rejected by the Senate two weeks ago, though it was submitted by the Presidency on October 4. The MTEF and FSP provide the framework for the 2017 budget and due to the Senate’s renewed commitment to prioritize economic bills and get the country out of its current economic state, the MTEF and FSP were brought back to the fore today.

But it appears the content of both documents were just as disappointing as they were at the first hearing when Senators called them “empty”.

Senator Solomon Adeola, representing Lagos West senatorial district emphasized that the successes and failures of the 2016 budget should first be discussed before considering the projections of the 2017 budget. He also demanded the document be returned to the Executive as it was again “empty”.

Senator Sam Anyanwu of Imo East, was also in support, adding that the document be returned to the Executive, describing it as unrealistic.

As for Senator Dino Melaye, the document is not only unrealistic, it is a lie, not truthful and not factual. He pointed out that last year’s MTEF for 2016-2018 had a 2017 section whose projections were yet to be attained.

A few of the Senators pleaded that the documents be given a chance. Senators Ahmed Sani and Gbenga Ashafa advised that the entirety of the MTEF/FSP should not be ruled out with Senator Sani stating that “the government is able to do wonders in three months”.

The MTEF fiscal projections include the proposed 2017 crude oil benchmark of $42.5 per barrel up from $30 in the 2016 budget and the estimated N7.775 trillion as revenue to be generated from the oil resources considering the $42.5 per barrel benchmark and an estimated 2.2 million barrel per day oil production, amongst others.

Representing Cross River Central, Senator John Enoh was of the opinion that oil production of 2.2 million per barrel a day was not achievable if the Niger-Delta crisis persists.

However, rather than send it back to the Executive, Senate President Bukola Saraki admitted that though some of the contents on the documents are assumptions and others like GDP and oil production are unrealistic, the Senate would work on turning it around.

The documents have been referred to the Committee on Finance and Appropriations.

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