Reps begin reviewing 2024-2026 MTEF, fiscal strategy

The House of Representatives has commenced its legislative examination of the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), submitted by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for approval.

Rep James Faleke, chairman of the House Committee on Finance, during an interactive session with ministers and permanent secretaries from various ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) emphasised the imperative of the interface in Abuja on Wednesday.

He stressed the importance of the interface in ensuring the passage of a realistic MTEF/FSP before the presentation of the 2024 annual budget.

He said the the move signaled a critical step in shaping the financial landscape for the next few years.

Faleke pledged to provide homegrown solutions to the nation’s financial challenges and expressed concerns over various financial issues.

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These, according to him, included the $11 billion P&ID contract scandal and the monthly $30 million payment by Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) to Azura Power.

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He also noted the loss of revenue resulting from waivers and exemptions granted to various organisations, amounting to over N2.7 trillion, as projected in the 2024 budget estimates.

He said the MTEF was the basis of the annual budget, which is the backbone of the implementation of the Federal Government’s plans and policies.

”The House Committee on Finance aims to ensure that MDAs negotiate favourable terms for the country in their agreements, particularly in light of recent costly agreements.

“Additionally, we will investigate factors contributing to revenue shortfalls, such as oil theft and NNPC agreements affecting revenue deductions at source.

Faleke also highlighted the significance of government revenue, which remains the largest individual sub-head of the Federal Government.

He said the committee was expected to exceed the revenue estimates submitted by the Budget Office through operations of government-owned agencies.

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Faleke voiced his concerns about the nation’s debt situation, as deficit budgets have necessitated substantial domestic and foreign borrowing, leading to debt servicing payments consuming over 95 per cent of last year’s revenues.

To address this, Faleke said the committee would continue its innovative Revenue Monitoring Exercise to enhance the country’s collective revenue profile.

“With the global economy facing challenges, including rising interest rates in developed countries, the committee recognises the need to increase revenues.

This, according to him, is to attract investments and navigate Nigeria’s economic difficulties effectively.

He said the legislative scrutiny and proactive approach by the committee underscored their commitment to addressing critical financial issues and ensuring a sound economic future for the nation.

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