By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—STRONG indications of fresh crisis between the Senate and the executive branch of government emerged yesterday after the legislative house suspended further consideration of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP.
Approval of the MTEF and FSP documents are antecedent to the consideration of the budget meaning that the 2017 budget could also be in jeopardy. The debate on the documents earlier slated for last week was shifted to this week.
However, it has now emerged that the consideration of the documents has now been put on hold pending the resolution of issues the Senate has seen in them. The Senate is alleging gaps in the documents submitted.
Against this backdrop, the Senate has summoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and the Minister of Budget and Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma to brief it’s leadership on the controversial areas discovered in the two documents.
A copy of the letters obtained by Vanguard, dated October 19, 2016, and signed by the Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, asked Udoma to forward all the missing details before the proposed engagement with the Senate leadership.
The Senate is requesting for the draft copy of the Medium Term Development Plan, upon which the 2017-2019 MTEF was founded; as well as a comprehensive report on the implementation of the 2016 budget as at 30th of September, 2016.
The letter asked the ministers to provide “All fiscal rates, taxes, charges used to derive the projected revenue in the 2017-2019 MTEF, 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.”
The letter reads, “Following the letter from His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, dated 30 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 the 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 the present administration as is 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 wholistic fiscal perspective, we deem it necessary to invite you to a meeting to brief the leadership of the Senate on Tuesday, 1st November, 2016, at the National Assembly by 2 p.m. You are requested to please send the following documents ahead of the meeting:
“The Medium-Term Development Plan (even a draft copy) upon which the 2017-2019 MTEF is founded; a comprehensive report on the implementation of the 2016 budget (as at third quarter, September 30); all fiscal rates, taxes, charges, etc., used to derive the projected revenue in the 2017-2019 MTEF; and 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.”