As the 10th Senate resumes from its annual recess Tuesday, there are high expectations that the lawmakers would expeditiously confirm Olayemi Cardoso, the acting Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor and other nominated deputy governors to enable them to begin work.
The Senate would be resuming plenary after two months of summer holidays which began on August 7, after setting up its 74 standing Committees, and confirmation of President Tinubu’s ministerial nominees.
While on recess, Tinubu had approved the nomination of Cardoso to serve as the new Governor of CBN and four new Deputy Governors for the apex bank, for a term of five years at the first instance, pending their confirmation by the Senate according to the law.
This is even as the federal lawmakers are equally expected to receive and attend to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) which is the legal template upon which the 2024 budget would be predicated. The MTEF/FSP is traditionally approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) before transmission to the National Assembly.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act gave the President an August deadline to prepare and present the MTEF/FSP to federal lawmakers.
Section 11 (b) of the Act, specifically, stipulates that the MTEF/FSP be submitted “not later than four months before the commencement of the next financial year – but this may drag since Tinubu’s newly constituted cabinet has only sat once, a pointer that the approval and submission of the documents may not happen soon.
The consideration and approval of the MTEF-FSP will be followed by the scrutiny of the 2024 Appropriation Bill which is expected to be presented to the National Assembly, possibly in the coming month.
If the 10th National Assembly would continue with the 9th Assembly’s tradition of the January to December budget cycle, then it is expected that various heads of the federal ministries, departments and agencies would be invited to give an account of their budget performances before the Senate standing committees any moment from now.
The Red Chamber will also start its legislative assignment by attending to any pending communication from President Tinubu and also constitute the remaining standing committees.
Although not confirmed, the President may have sent official communications to the red chamber, requesting among others, the screening and confirmation of all appointments made by him which require legislative actions while the senators were on holiday.
Apart from the CBN leadership, some of the fresh appointees include Jamila Bio Ibrahim to serve as the Minister of Youth, and Ayodele Olawande to serve as the Minister of State for Youth.
Zacch Adedeji as Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service was also appointed for a term of four years in the first instance in acting capacity for a 90-day period before his subsequent confirmation as the substantive Executive Chairman.
The Senate is expected to screen for confirmation, Chairman, directors and members of the reconstituted Niger Delta Development Commission.
They are, Chiedu Ebie, Chairman, (Delta State); Samuel Ogbuku – Managing Director / CEO (Bayelsa); Boma Iyaye – Executive Director, Finance and Admin, (Rivers); Victor Antai, Executive Director, Projects (Akwa-Ibom) and Ifedayo Abegunde, Executive Director, Corporate Services (Ondo).
Others are, Dimaro Denyanbofa – State Representative ( Bayelsa); Abasi Ndikan Nkono, State Representative (Akwa Ibom); Monday Igbuya, State Representative (Delta); Tony Okocha, State Representative (Rivers); Patrick Aisowieren, State Representative (Edo); and Kyrian Uchegbu, State Representative (Imo).
The rest are; Patrick Aisowieren, State Representative (Edo); Kyrian Uchegbu, State Representative (Imo); Otito Atikase, State Representative (Ondo); Dimgba Eruba, State Representative (Abia); Orok Out Duke, State Representative (Cross River); Nick Wende – Zonal Representative, North Central; Namdas Abdulrazak, Zonal Representative, (North East); and Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir, Zonal Representative (North West).
Recall that Sani Musa, Chairman, the Senate Committee on Finance, had during the holiday, said the Senate President had directed all the standing panels to embark on aggressive oversight activities for the purpose of blocking revenue leakages and increasing the resources accruable to the country.
Musa said the Senate, especially his panel, would focus on the informal sector which constitutes about 80 per cent of the Nigerian Economy.
“The committee will legislate to encourage regulations of consumption and production, facilitate enabling environment through legislation for domestic Industries to develop and stimulate economic growth through direct foreign investments inflow.”
The Senate panel pledged that it would uphold fiscal discipline which it noted, was pivotal to the nation’s financial health, saying the Senate Finance Committee, will fasten their commitment to prudent revenue sourcing.
The various committees are also expected to submit bills on how to raise additional revenues for the cash-strapped country currently undergoing economic stress.