Buhari may present 2017 Budget on 1st December

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The 2017 Appropriation Bill might be presented to the joint session of the National Assembly on the 1st of December, 2016 – this next month.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, gave the hint on Wednesday while contributing to the debate on the 2017 to 2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

Akpabio said the Senate President, Bukola Saraki had on Tuesday gave indication that President Buhari may be coming to the National Assembly to present the 2017 budget proposal on December 1.

The information came as the senators overwhelmingly described the MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) as unrealistic.

The lawmakers took turns to tear the MTEF and FSP to shreds saying the fiscal document should be returned back to the Presidency.

Saraki saved the day by appealing to the lawmakers that though the assumptions and estimates in the MTEF were largely incorrect, they remained assumptions and estimates.

Saraki noted that it was the responsibility of the Senate to work on the document and use its capacity to produce a realistic document.

“We can see that we don’t have a perfect document in our hands but of course, we are looking at assumptions and assumptions may not necessarily be correct. I want to suggest that we send it to the committee. Of course, the committee will invite the relevant agencies and ministries of government.

“They will come up with a more realistic MTEF/FSP because I believe also that looking at the date that this was submitted to the Senate, (4th of October) and we are debating it today on the 23nd of November. So, a lot of indices must have changed.

“Yesterday, you made reference to the fact that the President may be coming to the chambers to submit and read the 2017 budget on 1st of December.

“If that is the case and we send this (MTEF) back and wait for it to come and debate it, it means that we will not be able to meet that deadline. But if we send it to the committee level, they may come up with something within the next three days that will be much realistic,” Akpabio said

He therefore appealed to the committee members to take into cognisance all the submissions and observations made today so that Senate can come up with a more realistic MTEF and FSP.

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