The House of Representatives yesterday referred the 2016 – 2018 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to its Standing Committees on Finance, National Planning and Economic Development, Debt Management, and Legislative Budget and Research for scrutiny and recommendations to the House.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday sent both documents – MTEF and FSP – to the National Assembly for consideration preparatory to the submission of the 2016 Budget Estimates.
Following the unanimous adoption of a motion on the framework, the House resolution was moved by the House Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, at plenary.
Debating the motion, lawmakers made observations on identified errors or omissions in the macro-economic plan of the federal government.
House Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, argued that the configuration of the document did not take into consideration the actual projected accruable income and expenditure for the federation in 2016 and beyond pointing out the issues of fuel subsidy payments, and insights into how much would be available for sharing among the three tiers of government.
Ogor questioned the rationale behind such an omission and called for its withdrawal with a view to coming up with a more comprehensive analysis of income and expenditure envisaged in the fiscal years under consideration.
Gbajabiamila made a spirited efforts at defending the identified flaws by Ogor but was again countered by the opposition leader in the House, who insisted on having his questions answered first.
Consequently, Speaker Yakubu Dogara intervened in the arguments, saying that the omissions as noted may have been a mix-up arising from typographical errors as another copy of the document given to him addressed all the grey areas being observed by the Minority Leader.
The Speaker therefore called for an accelerated hearing on the document, which was subsequently passed by members present and referred to the relevant committees of the House for further actions and report back by next week Tuesday.