…accommodates N700 increase by lawmakers
By Lawrence Olaoye
Barring last minute changes, President Muhammadu Buhari will today present the 2020 Appropriation Bill to the joint sitting of National Assembly today as scheduled.
It was gathered that the Extraordinary Federal Executive Council (FEC) chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday bent backward to accommodate the N700 billion increase made to the initial N19.002 trillion proposal made to the lawmakers by the Council in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF-FSP) submitted by the executive.
Though there was no official briefing after the meeting, a reliable source disclosed that the Council commended the National Assembly for the increment of the crude oil benchmark from $55 per barrel to $57 per barrel.
When the Senate took the decision to jerk up the proposed Appropriation Bill, there were insinuations that the executive may reject same.
Though the ministers did not disclose officially the outcome of the extraordinary meeting which lasted about five hours, it was reliably gathered that the Council members commended the lawmakers for increasing the proposed budget.
The source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “FEC is happy with the National Assembly for increasing the benchmark to $57 per barrel. The additional $2is to take care of recruitment in the security agencies and also attend to critical areas.
“This is a sign that the legislature and the executive will work together for the interest of Nigerians. It is a good development.”
Departmental heads of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning led by the Director General of Budget, Ben Akabueze, made submissions to the Council to guide its deliberations.
The meeting started at 12 noon with the rendition of national anthem and Christian prayer led by the Minister of Health while the Muslim prayer was led by the Minister of Aviation.
The Extraordinary Council meeting was initially scheduled to hold last Saturday but was moved to yesterday on Presidential order.
According to a statement made available to newsmen last weekend by the Soecial Advise to the President on media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the extraordinary Council meeting held yesterday was to put finishing touches to the budget proposal with a view to presenting same to the National Assembly today.