Senate Approves MTEF, Gets 2019 Budget Report
The Senate on Tuesday approved the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper after considering the document for 155 days. The development came just as the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, directed the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Danjuma Goje, to submit his report on the 2019 budget on Thursday.
The upper chamber approved all the critical projections in the MTEF/FSP as proposed by the executive.
The MTEF/FSP is an annual rolling three-year expenditure plan that sets out the medium-term expenditure priorities and provides the basis for the preparation of the annual national budget.
The lawmakers retained the oil output of 2.3 million barrel per day, oil price benchmark of $60 per barrel, an exchange rate of N305/$1, GDP growth rate of three per cent and inflation growth rate of 9.98 per cent.
Other Executive proposals for 2019 adopted by the Senate include: proposed expenditure of N8.83 trillion, FGN retained revenue N7.92 trillion, fiscal deficit N1.86 trillion, new borrowings N1.65 trillion, statutory transfers N492.4 billion and debt service N2.14 trillion.
Others are: Sinking Fund N120 billion, total recurrent (non-debt) N4.72 trillion, personnel costs (MDAs) N2.29 trillion, capital expenditure N2.86 trillion, Special Intervention N500 billion among others.
The Senate adopted the proposals as recommended by the Committee on Finance in its report presented by its Chairman, John Enoh. President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 6, 2018 sent the MTEF/FSP to the National Assembly for approval. Meanwhile, the Senate on Tuesday gave the Appropriations Committee up till Thursday to submit the 2019 budget report.
Speaking after, the Vice- Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Sunny Ogbuoji, said only 24 out of 61 sub-committees had submitted their reports.
Saraki, who presided over the plenary, insisted that the budget report must be presented on Thursday, April 11 ahead of the April 16 approval of the money bill. According to him, the Appropriations panel will be forced to use executive submissions if the sub-committees fail to submit their reports to the Appropriations Committee by Wednesday.
He said, “It is unfortunate that only 24 committees have submitted their reports. Last week, we all took a decision here that we are not going to waiver on our position. Our position is very clear: that all committees should submit (their budget reports). And those that don’t submit, then the Appropriations Committee should use the executive submissions.
“That position is still where we are. And I want to appeal to all our committees that you really have just till tomorrow (Wednesday) to make sure that your reports get to the Appropriations Committee because Thursday, you must lay this report.
“Vice-Chairman of Appropriations Committee, if you don’t get report from our committees by tomorrow (Wednesday), then you just use the submission of the executive. But come Thursday, you must lay that report,” Saraki said.
President Buhari submitted the N8.83 trillion budget proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 19, 2018.