By Christiana Ekpa, Ikechukwu Okaforadi & Musa Adamu
The National Assembly yesterday, historically passed the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), setting the tone for the presentation of the 2020 appropriation bill by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Consequently, NASS increased the estimated expenditure of the federal government for 2020 from N 10. 002 trillion to N10. 729.4 trillion.
In the House, passing the MTEF/FSP at the committee of the supply following a motion by chairman, committee on finance, Hon. James Faleke (APC, Lagos), the House raised the oil benchmark to $57 per barrel as against the $55 proposed by the executive and approved N305 exchange rate to $1.
The House also adopted 2.18 million barrels of oil as daily production output for 2020, saying “in view of concerted efforts by NNPC and security agencies to combat the menace of oil theft and vandalisation, the 2.18m would be realisable”.
In jerking the revenue target of NCS of N942.6 billion to N1. 5 trillion, the House explained that it is “as a result of the performance of NCS in the last 9 months with 3 months outstanding.
“The NCS revenue as at September stood at N1 trillion against the budget figure of N969.8 billion for the year 2019. The joint committee commends the NCD for exceeding the targeted revenue despite the global economic challenges and closure of the Nigerian borders”
Similarly, the House approved that “the sum of N557.4 billion from the revenue increment of NCS be used to reduce borrowing by N200 bn and increase capital expenditure thereby decreasing the size of the budget deficit from N1.7trillion to N1.5 trillion and also increase the total capital available to MDA by N357 bn, from N1.01 trn to N1.367 trn.
According to the House, “the exchange rate of N305/$ should be maintained for economic stability. While more work should done by the Honourable minister of finance and all economic advisers and her team on improving the economic growth by increasing the GDP and reducing the inflation rate to single digit.
“ That the saving on income accruing from the increase of the benchmark amounting to N172 billion which represent the Federal government portion of the $2 added to the benchmark be used to pay salaries and emolument of the proposed 30,000 new employees”.
The House also resolved “that proper investigation be carried out on the e-collection stamp duties domicile with Central Bank of Nigeria for the past years so as to show probity and accountability and of course increase the revenue base of the country;
“That immediate amendment of Act of the National Assembly on Production sharing Contracts (PSC) with IOCs;
“That proper investigation be carried out on NNPC so as to ascertain the actual cost associated With the Joint Venture agreements;
“That more government owned enterprises budget be added to the nation‘s budget to ensure proper checks and balances among all Federal Government Agencies;
“That Debt Management office (DMO) should put more efforts and strategies in managing the foreign and local debts”
The House also resolved that the National Assembly should expedite action on the passage of the finance bill which will he brought along with the National budget into Law for easy implementation of the 2020 budget most especially in the area of VAT; and called for urgent review/amendment of the FRA Act and the various Laws of the revenue generating agencies to align with current realities.
It earmarked 1% of the consolidated Revenue Fund to finance the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund to be classified as Statutory Transfer.