By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila on Monday told the Federal Government that Nigeria requires an honest assessment of the local and international economic dynamics that underpin the country’s decisions about budgeting, spending, and strategic planning, stressing that it is not in the best interest of Nigerians when government make plans based on projections that are unlikely to come to fruition.
The Speaker equally disclosed that, the House has the responsibility and the authority to act on behalf of the Nigerian people, to ensure that their collective resources are efficiently managed in service of the public good, adding that, the 9th House will live up to that responsibility by exercising the full extent of it’s authority as it relates to the appropriations process and oversight.
This was just as the Chairman of the Committee, James Abiodun Faleke accused MDA’s of recycling unnecessary capital project against the essential ones, vowing that the act will no longer be tenable
Gbajabiamila who disclosed this at the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) Interactive Session with the House Committee on Finance and other MDA’s in Abuja yesterday said “We cannot make projections and commitments unless we are reasonably certain that we can achieve those projections and deliver on the commitments we have made.
He said “As the National Assembly will shortly receive and begin consideration of the 2022 Appropriations Bill. The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) will have a direct impact on the content of that appropriations Bill, as well as on our ability to deliver on the promises of governance and development that we have made to the Nigerian people. It is, therefore, important for all of us to recognise and be guided by the fact that our gathering here today is of great strategic importance to our country’s future.
“ As we are all aware, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant disruptive effect on the global economy. Countries all over the world have experienced economic contraction with different levels of severity. Our situation has of course been compounded by other factors unique to society. The consequence of these developments is that our ability to pursue a robust development agenda has been severely constrained. However, the fact of this new reality does not absolve us of the obligation to do all that is necessary to achieve our nation’s most pressing development objectives.
“More than anything else,
this moment requires us above all to engage in an honest assessment of the local and international economic dynamics that underpin our decisions about budgeting, spending, and strategic planning. It is not in the best interest of Nigeria, and it does not serve the government’s agenda to make plans based on projections that are unlikely to come to fruition.
“The legislature is, by constitutional imperative, the keeper of the public purse. In this capacity, the House of Representatives have the responsibility and the authority to act on behalf of the Nigerian people, to ensure that our collective resources are efficiently managed in service of the public good. Let no one be in any doubt of our commitment in the 9th House of Representatives to live up to that responsibility by exercising the full extent of our authority as it relates to the appropriations process and oversight. As such, I ask that all of the ministries, departments, and agencies of government commit to working with us in a collaborative process in the best interests of our people.
“Let us also endeavour to ensure that our engagements here today, and going forward, are grounded in a shared determination to help our beloved nation reach its promise of peace and prosperity for all.
“On that note ladies and gentlemen, guests and honourable colleagues, it is my honour and privilege, on behalf of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to declare this hearing open. Rest assured that you have my support and that of the entire House of Representatives. I wish you fruitful deliberations” he added.
The Chairman of the Committee, James Abiodun Faleke in his remarks accused MDA’s of recycling unnecessary capital project against the essential ones, saying that “the idea where the MDAs recycle unnecessary capital projects in the budget without due regards to essential projects that will engender sustainable development in the country is no longer tenable.
The Chairman said that the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF & FSP) with a three year plan is a major feature of the annual budget preparation cycle which provides the basic estimates and assumptions for the annual budget.
According to him, the Act provides guidance to Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the formulation of policies and selections of projects and programs to ensure economic development.
“The 2022 budget estimates will be derived from the MTEF/FSP which comprises of government plan to accelerate our economic recovery process, promote social inclusion and strengthen resilience of the economy. This has become necessary in the face of supply chain disruptions and heightened uncertainties occasioned by the COVID 19 pandemic, especially with the renewed wave of the prevalent Delta variant not only in our country but across the world.”