After months of consideration, the 2018 budget passed second reading in both the Senate and House of Representatives for further considerations by the House Committee on Appropriations and all other relevant standing and subcommittees for continuous legislative action.
The members of the House started debate on the general principles of the budget last Tuesday without the passage of the MTEF after President Muhamamdu Buhari had earlier presented the budget proposal with a revenue profile of N8.612 trillion before the National Assembly on November 7, 2017.
The House of Representatives, yesterday, also adopted the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, (MTEF) for 2018 fiscal year and retained the proposed production of 2.3 million barrels per day by the executive arm of government; and further, moved the benchmark from $45 to $47 per barrel for 2018 fiscal year.
The recommendations read thus:
“that 2.3 million barrels per day be retained as proposed by the Executive for the 2018 Budget;
“That $47 per barrel as the benchmark for the fiscal year 2018 be adopted. This is in consideration of the current positive outlook in the global oil market and expectation that OPEC and other allied oil partnership countries will sustain oil production “cuts deep” into 2018;
“That 305/US Dollar as proposed by the executive for the 2018 Budget be adopted. It is also advised that CBN should adopt measures to close the gap between the parallel market and the official exchange rate;
“That the projection at 5.279 trillion for non-oil revenue in 2018 be adopted.
Meanwhile, the 8th Senate also passed the Second Reading of the 2018 Appropriation Bill yesterday, December 5, 2017. The Bill has also been forwarded to the Committee on Appropriations and its various sub-committees for further consideration and budget defenses by the various ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government.
Speaking on the passage of the Second Reading of the Budget, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki said:
“We know that the timetable is very tight. We will be suspending plenary for us to be able to start the defense of this budget. Committee Chairmen and Members should please ensure that we keep to this timetable. Let me respond with a general note of warning to all Heads of MDAs to ensure that they strictly respect the letters of invitation and the timetable. This is not time for excuses for Ministers or Heads of parastatals to be traveling and not be able to attend their budget defense. We do not have the time. This is a very short timeframe, therefore, I expect all MDAs to be able to respect our invitation and be there on time so that the Committees can wrap up and be able to present their reports by the time we come back on Tuesday, the 19th of December”.
The President of the Senate also announced that the Senate will be having a public hearing on the budget;
“Distinguished Colleagues, let me also thank you for what you have contributed to this process. I know that we have a lot of work ahead of us;
“There will be a Public hearing on the Budget. We are looking at Monday, the 11th of December, however, in the next few days, an announcement will be made – we expect attendance by all Senators.”