Nigerians are suffering, lawmakers tell Buhari

Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to tackle the problems of poverty in the country.

This followed a letter written by President Muhammadu Buhari to the lawmakers indicating his plan to present the 2018-2020 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, to the lower chamber.

The president, through the letter read by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, at the plenary, set the stage for laying the estimates of the 2018 budget before the National Assembly.

In a motion sponsored by the chairman, Committee on Poverty Alleviation, Muhammad Wudil, the lawmakers resolved to “call on the Federal Government to be more effective in implementing various programmes aimed at tackling poverty in the country.”

In her contribution, Ayo Omidiran, another lawmaker, described how poverty ”was biting most Nigerians, including lawmakers.”

She said every member ”is feeling the pangs of poverty.”

“Many of our constituents depend on us for their basic needs. They are feeling the pangs of poverty. People now go to their neighbours’ houses to seek help, which is embarrassing already. In turn, many of them run to us, asking for one favour or another,” she said.

Mr. Buhari’s letter on the 2018-2020 MTEF/FSP was read just as the House passed the 2017 Federal Capital Territory statutory budget of N222.3 billion for second reading.

The MTEF/FSP is a requirement of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and sets out the Federal Government’s revenue and spending plans for 2018-2020.

Part of the letter reads, “Pursuant to provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, the preparation towards the submission of the 2018 budget to the National Assembly is progressing well.

“The MTEF and FSP were prepared against the backdrop of a generally adverse global economic uncertainty, as well as fiscal challenges and recovery in the domestic economy to ensure that planned spending is set at prudent and sustainable levels and is consistent with government’s overall developmental objectives and inclusive growth.”

In leading the debate for the second reading of FCT’s budget, the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, said N52.5 billion would go for personnel spending, while N41.2 billion was earmarked for overhead costs.

Source learnt that the biggest share of N128 billion was provided for capital expenditure, particularly for completion of ongoing projects and satellite towns’ development in the FCT.

In his contribution, a lawmaker, Nicholas Ossai, observed that most of the infrastructure in the satellite towns had failed, hence advocated for more attention to be given to the satellite towns.

He added that most of the towns in the city had no potable water and electricity supply.

“Let us give the people in these satellite towns a sense of belonging. Places like Jikwoyi, Kubwa, Dutse; there are no good roads there. Let us endeavour to cater for these people.”

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