•Bans importation of locally manufactured commodities
Sunday Aborisade in Abuja
The Senate yesterday, passed the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).
The approval followed the presentation of the report of a Senate Joint Committee chaired by Senator Sani Musa.
The panel scrutinised details of the estimates proposed by the various federal ministries, departments and agencies in the fiscal document.
The red chamber during the document’s consideration at plenary, approved a borrowing plan of N7.8 trillion for 2024, N9 trillion budget deficit and federal government total expenditure of N26 trillion for the 2024 fiscal year.
The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, after an extensive deliberation on the document put the approval of the fiscal document to a voice vote and it was overwhelmingly supported by the members.
Specifically, the upper chamber pegged the oil price benchmark of $73 per barrel of crude oil, 1.78 million barrels per day and sustained, as contained in the MTEF/FSP documents.
It also approved the special intervention (recurrent) of N200 billion, special intervention(capital) of N7 billion and an exchange rate of N700/$.
The Senate also resolved that all items locally produced should be banned from importation.
The joint committee had in the report, observed that a significant number of the federal government’s revenue-generating agencies engaged in arbitrary, frivolous and extra-budgetary expenditure.
Their recommendation that a review of the laws of all revenue generating agencies be carried out, was approved by the Senate.
The red chamber therefore urged the National Assembly to begin the process of amending the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA, 2007) in order to enhance the agencies’ ability to enforce fiscal responsibility and impose sanctions on erring corporations.
The Senate during the session considered the joint panel’s recommendation that the subsidiaries of NIPOST were irregular and illegal hence they should be wound-up and deregistered.
Members of the Senate argued extensively on the recommendation by the joint panel that the sum of N10 billion released by the Ministry of Finance for the proposed NIPOST restructuring and recapitalisation be thoroughly investigated.
The panel had also recommended that the funds should be fully recovered if established to be injudiciously utilised by the relevant committee of the Assembly charged with the responsibility of fiscal prudency.
After the debate on the recommendations the Senate resolved that further investigation should be carried out before any cogent action could be carried out.
The Senate however, approved that all tax waivers not directly linked to non-governmental and non-profit organisations should not be granted.
It agreed that all investigations conducted into all tax waivers from 2015 to date by the relevant committees of the senate should be revisited.
Apart from this, the Senate approved that all items locally produced should be outrightly banned from Importation and customs tariffs amended accordingly.
It also asked the CBN to ensure that banks have access to foreign exchange in order to provide funds to importers and other users to prevent patronage of the parallel markets.
The senators approved the panel’s recommendation that the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) work towards reducing its production and operational costs to increase available government revenue.
Other recommendations were that federal government agencies should ensure the deployment of ICT in the collection of all revenues by MDAs including stamp duty collection activities in order to block leakages
Part of the recommendations included: “That the NNPCL should work towards reducing its production and operational costs thereby increasing available government revenue.
“Our cost of production is the highest in the world. The cost of production is too high and we want the NNPCL to reduce it.
“All tax waivers not directly linked to non-governmental/non-profit organisations should not be granted.
“All tax waivers from 2015 to date should be investigated by the relevant committee of the Senate.
“The federal government should continuously assess the qualifications and performance of agency heads in order to guarantee that the government’s total income target as stated in the MTEF/FSP and the yearly budgets is consistently met with adequate sanction were necessary.
“That all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) pay for services provided by other government agencies on time and in full, unless it is determined that the beneficiary agencies are statutorily exempt from such payments.
“That Ministry of Finance incorporated (MOFI) examine the activities of all Government Agencies currently operating under the partial and full commercialisation arrangement allowing them to compete with their peers in the private sector and thereby making a more meaningful contribution to the federal government’s revenue generation drive;
“That the Bureau of Public Enterprises Act be amended to remove the clause(s) that create conflict between it and MOFI where MOFI should be the authorised custodian of all federal government’s assets.”