Reps begin deliberation 2020-2022 MTEF/FSP Thursday

Gbajabiamila inaugurates 109 standing, special Committees

Barring last-minute changes, the House of Representatives will commence the debate on the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) on Thursday.

The MTEF/FSP document was transmitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the House last week in compliance with the provisions of Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila disclosed this on Wednesday during the inauguration of the 105 standing Committees and four special Committees which was attended by former Speakers, Director General of National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Service Chiefs and other Principal Officers as well as former Clerks of the House.

Gbajabiamila explained that the meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance Chaired by Hon. James Faleke will hold after the inauguration of the Standing Committees, with the view to examine the MTEF/FSP so as to enable the House to begin the discussion on the document at the next Legislative day.

The Speaker in his speech during the inauguration charged the leadership and members of the various Committees to be dutiful in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities of oversight and law-making.

He also stressed the need for the Standing Committees to conduct themselves always without reproach adding that their services are motivated only by considerations of the best interests of the country.

According to him, “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.”

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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.

According to him, “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.”

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.

In her goodwill message, former NILDS Director-General, Prof. Ladi Hamalia who noted that the US Congress spent a total sum of $106 million on books and library in 2018, harped on the need to ensure adequate funding of the Committees.

She argued that the Committees have been impoverished and compromised by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) they oversight.

She, however, tasked the leadership of various Standing Committees to ensure that they meet at least 10 times a year and the need to open website for each of the Committees should open website.

On his part, Alhaji Ibrahim Salim, former Clerk of the House stressed the need to ensure the independence of the Legislature, just as he applauded National Assembly members for being the shining example.

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