Buhari forwarded ‘empty’ MTEF to National Assembly for consideration – Senate
The Senate on Thursday stated that President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded an “empty” Medium Term Framework Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper to the National Assembly for consideration.
Buhari had a fortnight ago forwarded to the Senate for approval the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper for consideration.
However, the Senate Leader, Muhammed Ali Ndume, in point of order raised on the floor of the Senate, said the reason the National Assembly was yet to consider the MTEF/FSP was because the copy sent to the lawmakers from Presidency is “empty”.
Ndume, who spoke against the statement credited to the Minister of Budget and National Planing, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said the National Assembly was not responsible for the delay in the consideration of the 2017 budget.
The Minister was quoted in national Newspapers as having said the National Assembly was to be blamed for the failure of the executive to submit the 2017 Budget.
Ndume said: “”We received the MTEF on 30th September instead of submitting it according to law by 1st of September, not later than.
“That is not even the problem.
“I have a copy.
“I went through and the copies have been circulated.
“I talked to some experts.
“Even in this chamber, we have people we can call experts.
“If you look at this document that they call MTEF, it is empty;.
“It is empty and it doesn’t contain anything.
“If you have nothing, how do you consider nothing?
“Going through and knowing that it is empty, on October 19 – this is my letter – I wrote to the Minister of Budget and National Planning.
“In the third paragraph, I stated: ‘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, 1st November.’
“But the minister failed to turn up.”
Other senators such as the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and Bassey Albert said Udoma’s statement was intended to incite public against the National Assembly.
The lawmakers stated categorically that National Assembly was not responsible for delay in submission of 2017 Budget, but the Executive that has failed to submit complete documents to them.
The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, in his remark, said: “This is very important, which is why the Leader brought it.
“It is not an issue of blame games.”