The House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance will on Monday (today) begin an eight-day public hearing on the 2022-2024 Medium Time Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
To appear before the committee are heads and officials of Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies totalling 83, according to a notice obtained by our correspondent.
On Monday, the committee is to host Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clement Ike; Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze; Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; and Director-General, Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha.
Others to appear on Monday are the Nigeria Customs Service, the National Insurance Commission, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, the Nigeria Electricity Management Agency and the National Space Research and Development Agency.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had in July forwarded the 2022-2024 MTEF/FSP to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had read the cover letter on the MTEF/FSP at the plenary on July 8.
In the letter, Buhari said, “It is with pleasure that I forward 2022-2024 Medium Time Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper for the kind consideration and approval of the House of Representatives.
Let me use this medium to express my deep gratitude to your enduring collaboration and commitment of the leadership and honourable members in our collective efforts to sustain the restoration of the January to December financial year.
“On our part, we have worked very hard to sustain the early submission of the MTEF-FSP, to allow the National Assembly sufficient time to review the framework.
“As the 2022 budget will be prepared based on parameters and fiscal assumptions as the approved 2022-2024 Medium Time Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, I seek the cooperation of the National Assembly for expeditious action on the submission.”
A drama had played out on the MTEF/FSP when the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, had criticised the document after Gbajabiamila referred it to the House Committee Finance.
Elumelu had said, “If you recall in the meeting we had, the interface with Minister of Finance, I did object to the fact the MTEF/FSP was put to read from 2021 to 2024, and I said it appears that the minister is indirectly helping the APC to rig elections by going beyond 2023. You were there and she said it was because it was four years.”
Chairman House Committee on Finance, James Faleke, however, stated that the MTEF/FSP ‘has nothing to do with whether the government wants to rig 2023 elections (or not)’.
“I think it is important we clear it. The government is law-abiding and it is abiding by the provisions of Fiscal Responsibility Act,” he stated.
Not satisfied, Elumelu partly said, “Mr Speaker, let us recall that even when that MTEF – the one that is currently running – was approved for four years and which ends in 2023, nothing stops the Minister of Finance from applying that same MTEF that is running up to 2023. My argument is why include 2024. That is my question. Why not apply the one still running?”
However, Gbajabiamila said, “This happened several times when the PDP government was in power; when there were changes to MTEF.
“The reason is that when the fundamentals change, it throws off your calculations for your projection. If you look at the title, it is a framework, a projection and fundamental change. Thank you for your assumed right of reply, which you don’t have.”
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