The passage of the 2019-2021 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper suffered another setback at the House of Representatives as the presentation of the committee’s report on it was stood down till another legislative day.
The presentation of the report by the joint House Committees on Finance; Appropriations; and Aids, Loans and Debt Management on the MTEF was listed first on the Order Paper of Tuesday.
The Chairman of Finance, Mr Ibrahim Babangida, who was billed to present the report, was not on the seat when the item was considered.
The Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, therefore, ruled that the presentation be suspended to another legislative day, which was unanimously approved.
It became clear that the lawmakers would continue work on the 2019 Appropriation Bill without the approval of the MTEF, when it was later adjourned till April 2, to allow the committees organise budget defence sessions for Federal Government’s ministries, departments and agencies.
The heads of the MDAs are expected to appear before relevant committees to defend their budgetary proposals in the 2019 Appropriation Bill.
Although the law stipulates that the MTEF/FSP be sent to the National Assembly for ratification by September of each year, the President Muhammadu Buhari only sent the document to the legislature on November 6, 2018, while he presented the 2019 budget on December 19, 2018.
The MTEF/FSP, which contains the economic assumptions with which the budget was to be prepared, was supposed to have been passed before the appropriation bill was presented.
The Federal Executive Council had earlier in October approved the 2019-2021 MTEF/FSP, which proposed N8.73tn for the 2019 budget, N400bn lower than that of the current fiscal year.
The Federal Government had also pegged the price of crude oil for the 2019 budget at $60 per barrel, the exchange rate at N305 per the United States dollar, and daily crude oil production at 2.3 million barrels per day.