By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Christiana Ekpa
President Mohammadu Buhari will next week Tuesday present before the joint session of the National Assembly the budget estimates of the 2018 fiscal year, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has confirmed yesterday.
Saraki made this revelation after plenary session yesterday when he read the letter from the President in which he said the President is seeking a time slot of 10: am to lay the 2018 budget estimates before the joint session of the National Assembly.
Recall that the President had held a dinner with principal officers of the both chambers of National Assembly, during which the executive and the parliament agreed and resolved some contentious issues between both executive and the legislative arm of government.
The federal lawmakers had been critical of the executive over the late budget submission which they claim results in budget delay, but the executive has said it is working to restore the normal January to December budget life, which both arms agreed to work with in the 2018 budget.
A copy of the letter titled “Laying of the 2018 Budget Proposal Before the National Assembly” addressed to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, reads in part: “Pursuant to Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution, may I crave the indulgence of the National Assembly to grant me the slot of 1400 hours on Tuesday, 7thNovember, 2017 to formally address the joint session of and lay before the National Assembly the 2018 budget proposal”.
The President had earlier prepared ground for the budget presentation with the forwarding of the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP to the legislature on the 18th of last month.
President Buhari in the MTEF document to both chambers, disclosed that the Executive is proposing an oil benchmark of $45 per barrel for the 2018 budget, a production target of 2.3 million barrels per day, mbpd, and an exchange rate of $305 to the dollar.
He explained that the parameters were prepared against the backdrop of 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 consistent with government’s overall developmental objectives and inclusive growth.