The House of Representatives has begun a legislative examination of the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, submitted by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for approval.
James Faleke, House Committee on Finance chair, during an interactive session with Ministers and Permanent Secretaries from various ministries, departments, and agencies, emphasised the imperative of the interface in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said the importance of this interface in ensuring the passage of a realistic MTEF/FSP before the presentation of the 2024 annual budget. Mr Faleke said the move signalled a critical step in shaping the financial landscape for the next few years.
The legislator pledged to provide homegrown solutions to the nation’s financial challenges and expressed concerns over various financial issues. 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, including 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.
Mr Faleke said the MTEF was the basis of the annual budget, the backbone of implementing 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,” the lawmaker explained. “Additionally, we will investigate factors contributing to revenue shortfalls, such as oil theft and NNPC agreements affecting revenue deductions at source.”
Mr 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.
Mr Falake 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, Mr Falake said the committee would continue its 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,” Mr Falake stressed.