By Ihegazie Hope Chidinma
Nigerian Senate has approved the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper FSP.
The MTEF and FSP are documents that provide the framework of designing a budget as enshrined in section 11 (3)of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on September 25th 2019, sent a letter to the National Assembly detailing the provisions of the two documents.
In it, he made proposals for budget deficit, crude oil benchmark price, exchange rate, among others.
The Chairman Senate committee on Finance, Senator representing Lagos west, Adeola Solomon who presented the report, said the committee recommended the daily production output of crude oil at 2.18 million barrel per day, USD $57 per barrel as crude oil benchmark price for the fiscal year 2020, N305/1US$ as the exchange rate.
However the Senate frown at under disclosure of the electronic-collection of stamp-duties by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).
The committee also criticized the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation for its production details which the committee noted its shrouded in secrecy as well as direct deduction of cost from revenue without recourse to relevant agencies of government.
Other lawmakers like Senator representing Benue north east, Gabriel Suswan and senator representing Kogi west, Dino Melaye in their contributions called on government to guide against stealing of government revenue.
Contributing to the debate on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, Senator representing Imo north, Okorocha, advocated for the reduction of the cost of governance by allowing only one senator to represent each state.
He lamented that the country should not expect results with the current state of it’s constitution while allows for three senators to represent a state.
Reacting to Okorocha’s contribution, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, advised him to come up with a bill, if need be, to facilitate the idea through a constitutional process.
After debate on the matter, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, acknowledged that lack of funds has always been responsible for the poor implementation of budgets in the country.
He canvassed for Federal Inland Revenue Service to ensure that more Nigerians and corporate entities pay taxes so as to increase government revenue.
Lawan also stressed the need for economic diversification that will take the pressure off crude oil and enhance budget implementation vis avis employment generation.
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the 2020 budget before a joint session of the National Assembly next week.