20161124

Saraki Saves Buhari’s Proposal From Being Thrown Out

The Medium Term and Expenditure Framework (MTEF) 2017-2019 proposed by Pres Muhammadu Buhari narrowly beat rejection, after Senate President Bukola Saraki persuaded senators to pass the document for committee review, following an extensive debate on Wednesday.

There was stiff bi-partisan opposition to the MTEF and the Fiscal Sustainability Paper, FSP, as most of the Senators from both the ruling APC and the opposition PDP expressed preference for rejection of the fiscal proposal. They said the proposals were unrealistic.

Lagos APC Senator, Adeola Solomon said President Buhari’s economic team was in disarray, and he joined others to ask that the documents be returned to the Executive.

But Saraki, rounding off the debate which saw the Senate vote to extend its sitting beyond 2pm, said the documents only contained assumptions and the Senate had a responsibility to "turn them around" through its committees.

“We won’t take documents from the executive and send it back that way. Committees should take the comments of everybody and use it to decide,” said Saraki, softening ground for the vote that was to follow.

The Senate eventually referred the MTEF/FSP to the committees on finance and appropriations.

According to NAN, from a negative growth for 3 quarters consecutively this year, the government targets an increased 3.02 GDP growth rate in 2017.

“I don’t know how this will happen; it can’t work because nothing is happening,” Stella Oduah said.

Senator Solomon fired again, saying “This document we have before us is no document. We should return it to them.”

The Economic Team of the President is in disarray. I say this without being sentimental; I say as a true Nigerian,” he added.

Samuel Anyanwu (PDP) expressed satisfaction that PDP and APC Senators agreed the proposals were unrealistic; so, the documents should be returned.

Abiodun Olujimi, Mohammed Hassan, Foster Ogola and John Enoh, all PDP Senators, also wanted the proposals rejected.

APC's Senator Dino Melaye also dismissed the documents as “not factual”.