Senate approves 2019-2021 MTEF/FSP after 155 days

… to receive 2019 budget report Thursday

Senate approves 2019-2021 MTEF/FSP after 155 days
The Senate on Tuesday finally approved the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP), after spending 155 days with the Legislature.
This comes as the Senate is set to receive the report of the 2019 budget on Thursday. The upper legislative chamber approved all the critical projections in the MTEF/FSP as proposed by the Executive.
The MTEF/FSP, an annual, rolling three year-expenditure planning sets out the medium-term expenditure priorities and provides the basis for the preparation of the annual national budget.
The lawmakers retained the oil output of 2.3 million barrel per day, oil price benchmark of $60 per barrel, an exchange rate of N305/$1, GDP growth rate of 3 percent and inflation growth rate of 9.98 percent.
Other Executive proposals for 2019 adopted by the Senate include: proposed expenditure of N8.83 trillion, FGN retained revenue N7.92 trillion, fiscal deficit N1.86 trillion, new borrowings N1.65 trillion, statutory transfers N492.4 billion, debt service N2.14 trillion, Sinking Fund N120 billion, total recurrent (non-debt) N4.72 trillion, personnel costs (MDAs) N2.29 trillion, capital expenditure N2.86 trillion, Special Intervention N500 billion, among others.
The Senate adopted the proposals as recommended by the Committee on Finance in its report, presented by its chairman, John Enoh (APC, Cross River).
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 6, 2018, sent the MTEF/FSP to the National Assembly for approval.
Although, Enoh admitted that crude oil production output stood at 2.0 million barrels as of December 2018, he explained that the 2.3 million daily target was achievable “due to the continuous efforts of all stakeholders in checkmating the issues of oil facilities vandalism and other vices associated with such regard.”
While recommending an exchange rate of N305/$1, the committee encouraged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) “to continue adopting strategies that will aid the strengthening of the naira and bridging the gap between the official and parallel market rate of the foreign exchange.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has given the Appropriations Committee till Thursday to submit the 2019 budget report.
Speaking after the vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Sunny Ogbuoji (APC, Ebonyi), disclosed on the floor that only 24 out of 61 sub-committees had submitted their reports, Saraki insisted that the budget report must be presented on Thursday, April 11 ahead of the April 16 approval of the money bill. 
According to him, the Appropriations panel will be forced to use Executive submissions if the sub-committees fail to submit their reports to the Appropriations Committee by Wednesday.
“It is unfortunate that only 24 committees have submitted their reports. Last week, we all took a decision here that we are not going to waiver on our position. Our position is very clear: that all committees should submit (their budget reports). And those that don’t submit, then the Appropriations Committee should use the Executive submission.
“That position is still where we are. And I want to appeal to all our committees that you really have just till tomorrow (Wednesday) to make sure that your reports get to the Appropriations Committee because Thursday, you must lay this report.
“Vice Chairman of Appropriations Committee, if you don’t get report from our committees by tomorrow (Wednesday), then you just use the submission of the Executive. But come Thursday, you must lay that report,” Saraki said.
President Buhari had submitted the N8.83 trillion budget proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 19, 2018.

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