- Approves MTEF, FSP
- Senate passes budget Dec. 19
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi, Christiana Ekpa and Umar Muhammad Puma
The National Assembly has it raised the oil benchmark for the budget from $45 per barrel proposed by the executive to $47 per barrel.
This just as the senate yesterday hinted that it will pass on December 19 the 2018 budget proposals submitted by President Mohammadu Buhari.
The senate also yesterday passed the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) submitted by the executive for the budget parameters.
Similarly, the House of Representatives has approved the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), and Fiscal Strategy Paper(FSP),
They also pegged crude oil benchmark price at $47 per barrel for the 2018 fiscal year, against the recommended $45 by the executive arm.
The decision of the senate was sequel to the consideration and adoption of the reports and recommendations of the Senate Committee on Finance which arrived at the recommendations after a joint session with the House of Representatives committee on Finance.
The senate also barred the executive from altering the oil benchmark as approved by the senate for the 2017 budget without recourse to the lawmakers, warning that doing so would amount to illegality.
However, the senators retained majority of the parameter in the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) as submitted by the President, including the exchange rate of N305/$1, 2.3 million barrel per day, non oil revenue of N5.79trillion, and Gross Domestic Product growth rate of 3.5, among others.
The senate also adopted the recommendation which mandated the executive not to expend any money in the excess of the adopted oil benchmark of $47pb to the excess without the approval of the National Assembly.
They also resolved to constantly and diligently oversight the various ministries, departments and agencies of executive to ensues that they execute the budgets approved for them without any let or hindrance in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act. The senate further adopted the resolution of the committee that the new borrowing plan of N1.69trillion be adopted.
Meanwhile, the senate has adjourned plenary for two weeks to enable the chairmen of the various standing committees of the upper chamber to commence budget defence which will end before December 19.
The senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks after the debate, told the committees to expedite actions on the Budget defence by ensure that the timetable and the deadline is followed strictly, just as he charged the Heads of the MDAs to endeavor to be available the day they are expected at budget defence as the senate will not condone dilly-dallying as usual by the MDAs.
The House also adopted a growth rate of 3.5 percent, saying the latest figures indicating a doubting growth rate of 1.4 percent in the third quarter of 2017.
The approval was sequel to the adopting of recommendations of its joint Committee on Finance, Appropriations, Aids, Loans and Debt Management, Legislative Budget and Research, and National Planning and Economic Development.
The committee while depending the increment explained that “this is in consideration of the current positive outlook in the global oil market and expectation that OPEC and the other allied oil partnership countries will sustain oil production ‘cuts deep’ into 2018”.
Others indices in the document include 2.3 million barrel per day oil production estimate, as proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2018 budget, an exchange rate of N305 to the dollar, and a projection of N5.279 trillion non-oil revenue.
Also, the proposed borrowing plan of N1.699 trillion for 2018 was approved, as the cautioned that pioneer status for investments and tax incentives must be beneficial to the economy of the country.
Recall that President Mohammadu Buhari had in October submitted the 2018 budget of N8.6trillion before the joint session of the National Assembly, where he urged the lawmakers to expedite action on the passage of the budget.