President Buhari submits MTEF to begin 2017 budget process

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate has received the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) and fiscal strategy paper (FSP) for the years 2017 to 2019, as submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari.

MTEF and FSP 2017-2019 document articulates the present government’s economic, social and developmental objectives as well as the strategies for achieving them and other priorities.

The fiscal document, which was recently approved by the FEC, projected crude oil production at 2.2mbpd for the three-year period. The crude oil price was projected at $42.50 cents in 2017, $45 in 2018, and $50 in 2019. However, the exchange rate was fixed at =N=290 per dollar for the 3 year period.

The Senate also on Tuesday constituted a ten member ad-hoc investigative committee to ascertain how much has been released to the Presidential Initiative on the North east, and how the funds have been utilized from inception to date.

Another term of reference for the committee includes investigation into the diversion of grains and other food items from the strategic grains reserves, NEMA and other sources for the internally displaced persons.

Senate’s decision to constitute the ad-hoc committee followed a motion on the mounting humanitarian crisis in the North east zone of Nigeria, sponsored by Senator Baba-Kaka Garbai and 17 other senators.

Senator Garbai in his lead debate urged the Senate to note with grave concern, the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the North Eastern part of the country which has continued to be of concern to the international community and the media.

“Notwithstanding the huge budgetary allocation by the National Assembly and the various releases by the executive…including significant donations from many donors, the situation on ground is not cheery,” he said.

Other Senators in their contributions to the debate on the motion, decried the pitiable plight of the IDPs and urged the Senate to stand up for the suffering displaced persons.

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, lauded the sponsors of the motion and those who made contributions during its debate.

He described the revelations emanating from the handling of the humanitarian crisis as serious and portraying poor coordination, lack of transparency and slow response among those entrusted with the care of the IDPs.

“As a serious chamber, we cannot fold our arms and let these things continue to happen. This investigation, I believe, will give hope to the IDPs and the international community that the country is ready to do something to stop the diversion of aid and misapplication of appropriated funds meant for the upkeep of the IDPs,” Senator Saraki said.

Members of the committee include senators Yahaya Abdullahi, Theodore Orji, Ben Bruce, Olurenmi Tinubu, Aliyu Wakil, Tayo Alasoadura, Mohammed Hassan, Alfa, Solomon Olamilekan, and Senator Shehu Sani who is to serve as Chairman of the committee.

The ad-hoc committee has two weeks to submit its report to the Senate in plenary, as part of efforts to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the north east zone of the country.

In addition to these efforts, the 109 Senators resolved to donate the sum of =N=300,000 each, to facilitate the supply of relief materials to the IDP camps in the north east.

In another development, Chairman and members of the Senator Ndoma-Egba-led board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), were also screened on Tuesday by the Senate.


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— VOICE OF NIGERIA (@voiceofnigeria) October 5, 2016