By By Abiemwense Moru and Naomi Sharang
The two chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday passed the long-awaited 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
This followed the adoption of report of Joint Committees on Finance, Appropriation, Loans and Debt Management, Legislative Budget and Research and National Planning and Economic Development at both chambers on Tuesday.
At the Senate, the report was presented by Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi (APC-Kebbi) on behalf of the committee, while Chairman, Committee on Finance, Mr Babangida Ibrahim, did so at the House of Representatives.
Both chambers adopted 47 dollars per barrel as oil benchmark for 2018 budget and retained the 2.3 million barrels per day oil production and market rate of N305 to a dollar as proposed by the executive.
Similarly, the chambers recommended adoption of projected N5.28 trillion for non-oil revenue and adoption of N1.70 trillion for new borrowing.
The Senate recommended that relevant committees of the National Assembly should constantly and closely oversight Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) on the implementation of programmes to ensure effective targeting of beneficiaries.
“The joint committee recommends the adoption of 3.5 per cent growth rate.
“Also, it recommends that the National Assembly should insert in the 2018 Appropriation Act, a clause which makes it mandatory for the executive to refer to the National Assembly for any expenditure in excess of the benchmark.”
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said “we hope that those relevant revenue-generating agencies will ensure that they meet the target they have set for 2018.
“The NNPC should also ensure that the bench mark production we have set should be met.”
At the House, the report urged the National Assembly to amend relevant sections of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and other extant laws to strengthen budgeting and enthrone accountability.
In her contribution, Rep. Betty Apiafi (Rivers-PDP) wondered why the proposed utilization of the recovered looted funds was not captured in the list of recommendations.
The House Leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said it was unnecessary to bring up the issue and appealed to Apiafi and other members, also aggrieved, to support the endorsement of the framework.
In his remarks, Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, advised Apiafi to do a motion that would capture her thoughts on MTEF and use of the recovered funds in funding the 2018 budget.
He referred detailed considerations of the proposals to the Committee on Appropriation, all standing committees of the House and all subcommittees of the Committee on Appropriations.