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The Upper Legislative Chamber, has on Thursday, November 3, thrown out President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Sustainability Paper, FSP, describing the documents as “empty”.
The development, is coming at a time when the Senate had previously thrown out President Buhari’s letter, proposing ‎to borrow the sum of $29.9 billion (over N9 trillion).
‎In addition, the Senate equally ‎denounced President Buhari’s Aides, as being “incompetent”, saying they failed to present a comprehensive proposal on Buhari’s bid to borrow $30 billion.
Recall, that President Buhari,‎ had on October 4, sent the MTEF and FSP, ahead of the 2017 budget, to the Senate and the House of Representatives, for consideration.
The Red Chamber, had complained that the details of the fiscal proposals were missing, as it was not ‎attached to the President’s letter, requesting the consideration.‎
The Senate Leader, ‎Ali Ndume, had on Thursday, raised a point of order, drawing the attention of his colleagues to a newspaper report, with a headline, which suggested that the National Assembly was to blame for the failure to meet the October target, for the submission of the 2017 budget proposal.
Ndume, decried that the ‎the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, was quoted as saying in the publication, that the suspension of debate on the MTEF/FSP, had stalled the Ministry’s plan to transmit the 2017 budget to the Legislature.
Speaking further, he lamented that the ‎Executive arm, had resorted to blaming the Legislature, over the avoidable delay.

‎He said, “As the Leader of this Senate, I am responsible for presenting communications, bills from the Executive. You will recall, that we received the MTEF on 30th September. Instead of submitting it according to law not later than 1st of September, that is not even the problem.
“I went through and the copies have been circulated. I talked to some experts. Even in this Chamber, we have people that you can call experts. If you look at this document that they call MTEF, it is empty.
“And it doesn’t contain anything. If you have nothing, how do you consider nothing”‎, Ndume asked.
‎He concluded by saying, “We cannot afford to start the 2017 budget process with this blame game.
“This Senate is Nigerian Senate. We have the opposition that is co-operating with us, and we have the majority in this Senate.
“So, it is not like we are working against the government, but we know what we are doing. And we should do it right.
“When they bring nothing, and we ask for something, so that we will do it properly, they run to the newspaper to start blaming the National Assembly,”‎ Ndume noted.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, reacting to Ndume’s statement, also lamented that he called Udoma on the phone to discuss the matter, and that the Minister was ready to retract what he reportedly said about the MTEF, and the blame on the Legislature.
However, Udoma’s Media Aide, Akpandem James, reacting to Ndume’s statement, expressed surprise at the accusation.
He said, “Senator Udoma was equally surprised, that even after the newspaper that published the story, which quoted him as blaming the National Assembly for the delay in the presentation of the 2017 budget, has published that the Reporter never spoke with the Minister, Senator Ndume still went ahead to make an issue out of the matter on the floor of the Senate,” his Aide said.‎

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