• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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2014 budget rises by N53bn to N4.695trn after Senate passage

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Education, defence and the police top the 2014 Appropriation Bill passed by the Senate, Tuesday. The Senate jacked up the total budget to N4.695 trillion, from N4.642 trillion proposed by the executive, an increase of N53 billion.

Statutory transfers also rose from the N399. 7 billion proposed by the executive to N408.7 billion.

The Senate also retained the N712 billion proposed for debt service, but increased recurrent expenditure from N2.43 billion proposed by the executive to N2.45 billion. Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure also increased from N1.10 billion proposed to N1.12 billion. It also jacked up the benchmark oil price from $74.00 per barrel proposed by the executive to $77.50.

It adopted the executive proposal of crude oil production of 2.39 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of N160/$.

A breakdown of the budget shows that education tops the list with N373.53 billion, while defence is to gulp N314.34 billion.  Police formation and command got

N295.6 billion, while health got N215 billion.

Others include Interior ministry, which got N145.02 billion, followed by Youth Development with N76 billion. Foreign Affairs got N46. 6 billion, as Agriculture

and Rural Development got N31.5 billion. Justice got N24.5 billion, while Science and Technology’s share was N24 billion.

Ahmad Maccido, chairman. Senate Committee on Appropriation, said the committee observed that the “2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy paper, upon which the 2014 budget was based, just like the previous editions, will require being refined and retooled, both in procedure and process”.

He said. “A major issue here is in the planning required and the engagement processes with all stakeholders, which will have added effective value to the budget process with obvious multiplier effect on the

economy.”

The committee further observed that “the drop in oil production volume as reflected in the budget estimates of the past two years remains a disturbing

phenomenon”, pointing out that “the obvious reason has been traced to the obstruction to oil production as a result of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft”.

It also observed that the appalling state of budget implementation in the country is still a worrying recurring decimal for our economy. Unspent funds that are rolled over into the economy only make a mockery of development which is a dire necessity across the nation. Government must be seen to be taking steps to improve on this, it said.

It observed further that the “2014 budget, which is described as one of job creation and inclusive growth, deserves to urgently rise to the occasion to defend itself in view of the yawning gap between employment created and the army of the unemployed”.

ISAIAH ABRAHAM