Senate said, yesterday, that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has no no economic blueprint to pull Nigeria out of recession. The country’s upper legislative chamber gave the verdict during reconsideration of Buhari’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), yesterday. The lawmakers also added that the president’s economic team is in disarray. The legislators described the MTEF/FSP as shallow and empty and warned that if the documents are passed, as presented, they would have created room for the executive to present a faulty 2017 national budget.
Last month, Senate returned the MTEF/FSP to Buhari and in an October 19 letter, signed by Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, the chamber said it expected Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma to brief its leadership on some key issues contained in the documents. Udoma did not turn up for the proposed meeting.
The two documents, alongside the rejected borrowing plan, were returned to president Buhari. Speaking on the new documents yesterday, Chairman of the Commitee on Defence, Senator Ahmad Lawan noted that “the benchmark is realistic. But, I have my reservation about the production level. Senator Dino Melaye, who was more critical, urged his colleagues to reject the proposals. He said the documents were riddled with falsehood and that there was no significant difference between what was passed last year and what was presented to the National Assembly this year. Senator Sani Yerima opposed his colleagues and insisted that the documents were not empty. “As an economist, I suggest that we pass this MTEF/FSP. Whoever has any issues can then make inputs.” At the end of the heated debate, the two documents were approved and referred to the Committees of Appropriation, Finance and National Planning.
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