By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives would on Thursday begin work on the N8.7 trillion 2020/2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) sent to the National Assembly for consideration last week by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Speaker of the House Femi Gbajabiamila gave the hints during the Wednesday inauguration of the 105 Special and Standing Committees, including that of Finance and Appropriation that are primarily saddled with the responsibility of working on national budget.
He said there was going to be a meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance Chaired by James Faleke (APC, Lagos) after the inauguration look at the MTEF/FSP to enable the House begin discussion on the document at the next (Thursday) plenary.
The MTEF /FSP which contains the benchmark upon which the 2020 budget would be predicated, pegged the projected budget profile for the year at N8.7 trillion, and $55 oil price benchmark as against $60 used for the N8.9trn 2019 budget.
Presenting his inauguration speech, the Speaker taksed the leadership and members of the various Committees to be dutiful in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities of oversight and law-making, ensure that their conduct is always without reproach and their service is motivated only by considerations of the best interests of the country.
“You know as well as I do, that our country for several years has been contending with serious challenges on multiple fronts. From the economy to national security, social justice to healthcare, infrastructure to the environment and climate change, this is a time that calls for determined efforts to achieve substantive reform and ensure that our country can overcome its challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that abound for economic advancement and social development”, he said.
Gbajabiamila sued for the cooperation and collaboration of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government as it is only through joint efforts that the various arms of government can meet the objectives of the administration and keep the promises made to the Nigerian people.
“We in the House of Representatives intend without reservation to exercise the full authority of the legislature as it relates to the oversight of the MDAs. However, our purposes are not punitive, neither are our intentions adversarial, but in furtherance of our shared objectives of national development, peace, progress and prosperity for all”, the Speaker stated.
He vowed that House will be fully supporting and empowering its Committees for effective oversight, particularly the Committee on Legislative Compliance.
The Speaker also directed the ad–hoc committees on the Niger Delta Development Commission and the Ports and Harbours to conclude their investigations and submit their reports by Friday the 4th of October 2019 while all other ad – hoc committees should conclude their activities and submit their reports before the 14th of October.
Also a Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon.Ghali Na’Abba has called on the lawmakers in the green chamber of the parlaiment to stop oversight visitation of Ministries Departments and Agencies MDAs they oversight.
Na’Abba who spoke during the inauguration of the 105 Standing Committees of the House and five special committees by the Speaker Hon. Femi Gbajabimilla said that something is wrong when the lawmakers visit MDAs they oversight.
He told the lawmakers that the legislature is a unique institution and added that as a former presiding officer of the parliament he is embarrassed seeing lawmaker visiting parastatals and ministries of government.
He also said that the various committees of the parliament the world over is the engine which drives its lawmaking functions.
The Kano born ex-lawmaker said that Nigeria is presently facing numerous security challenges more than any other time in history and called for strengthening of the House Committees.