The Presidency on Sunday slammed the National Assembly over its refusal to consider and approve President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2017 Medium Term Expenditure (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
It would be recalled that the submission of both the MTEF and FSP, which are a statutory prerequisite for the submission of the 2017 budget, have suffered several setbacks in the Red Chamber.
The presidency, while expressing its frustration, alleged that the National Assembly is deliberately frustrating submission of the documents in a bid to force the executive arm to fund their controversial N100 billion constituency projects contained in the 2016 budget.
The Senate had consistently sent the documents back to President Buhari for allegedly lacking in details for their deliberation.
THE WHISTLER reported, last week Wednesday, that majority of lawmakers in the Senate had described the MTEF and FSP as “unrealistic and voodo-oriented”.
But a senior official involved in budgetary preparation in the presidency described the rejections as “frivolous”.
“The same MTEF the lawmakers said was empty was the same document presented to a forum of economic experts in Lagos for debate and their input; it was also presented to civil society groups in Lagos and Abuja for debate and their input, before it was later presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval,” the source in the presidency told THISDAY.
“It was the same MTEF that was given to the African Development Bank, upon which the bank recently approved the $600 million loan as the first tranche of the one-billion-dollar budget support to help finance Nigeria’s economic governance, diversification and competitiveness programme.
“It was the same MTEF, which the National Assembly said was empty that was presented to the World Bank for part of the proposed borrowing plan of $29.96 billion for infrastructure development.
“So, we don’t understand what they are talking about. Are the lawmakers more knowledgeable than these institutions on economic and financial matters?”
“We all know the state of our economy today. We don’t have enough funds to implement the constituency projects for now, and they will add very little value to the growth of the nation’s economy.
“In any case, if they say the MTEF we prepared is empty, let them come up with their alternative,” he added.