Hope of an early passage of the 2018 budget further dimmed yesterday as the Senate failed to approve the 2018 – 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The approval of this ducument is a key constitutional condition for the consideration of the budget proposal.
To that effect, the Senate had directed its joint committee on Appropriation and Finance to speedily work on the draft MTEF so as to allow it commence debate on the budget proposal. The report of the committee was supposed to be considered and approved yesterday.
The committee informed the Senate that there were serious differences between it and the House of Representatives’ committee and sought additional time to sort the issues out.
Although Senate President Bukola Saraki had assured on Tuesday that the fiscal document would be considered this week to allow for debates on general principles of the 2018 budget next week Tuesday, Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, John Enoh (PDP, Cross River State), told lawmakers at Thursday plenary that it is yet to harmonise its report with that of the House of Representatives.
“We need to consult further with the joint committee in the House of Representatives,” Enoh said.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, adjourned consideration of the report on the MTEF/FSP to Wednesday next week.
Meanwhile, Senate yesterday rejected the nomination of Ahmed Bello Mahmud from Zamfara State as resident electoral commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But it confirmed the nomination of Rufus Akeju representing Lagos State and Mahmuda Isa representing Kebbi State as INEC RECs.
The approval and rejection followed the consideration and subsequent presentation of report by the committee on INEC that screened the nominees for confirmation.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North), in his presentation affirmed that the two confirmed nominees passed the standard screening crucibles, which warranted the submission of their names for confirmation.
However, Nazif did not explain why Mahmud was rejected.
It was on this premise that Senator Kabir Marafa representing Zamfara Central protested, saying that nomination of any person was exclusive right of the president and that any rejection ought to accompany reasons.
Marafa thus submitted that such unsubstantiated rejection was unacceptable.
In another twist, the paternity root of Mahmud was brought to question by Senator Tijjani Kaura representing Zamfara North.