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President Muhammadu Buhari will
today (Wednesday) present the 2017 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the
National Assembly.

The document will be the second one
to be presented by the President after his inauguration in May 2015.

Buhari, who will be accompanied by
top government officials, is expected to present the document at 10am.

The Federal Executive Council had
on November 30 approved the document for presentation to the National Assembly.

Speaking to State House correspondents
at the end of the council’s meeting, the Minister of Budget and National
Planning, Udo Udoma, refused to give details of the budget proposal as approved
by the council.

He said it was only the President
who would unveil the document on the floor of the National Assembly.

“The 2017 budget has been approved
by the Federal Executive Council and the details will be revealed when the
President presents the budget to the National Assembly,” Udoma said.

The budget of N6.07tn for 2016 was
predicated on a benchmark price of $38 per barrel of crude oil and N197 to a
dollar exchange rate.

Meanwhile, members of the House of
Representatives have said that the key parameters of the 2017-2019 Medium Term
Expenditure Framework upon which the budget will be based are not sustainable,
asking the Federal Government to seek more realistic solutions to the economy.

They voiced their opinions as they
debated the MTEF in Abuja on Tuesday, less than 24 hours to the presentation of
the 2017 budget estimates to the legislature by the President.

The development came as the
Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, declared a public hearing on the controversial Oil
Prospecting License 245 open, saying that the House was prepared to assist the
government to resolve the issues surrounding the lucrative oil well.

Nigeria is believed to have lost
over $1.1bn on the OPL 245, better known as Malabu oil deal.

The MTEF’s crude oil production,
benchmark and exchange rate projections for 2017 did not receive the full
backing of members.

The government plans to spend over
N7tn next year, but revenue projection is around N4.9tn, a figure that also
accommodates a huge deficit.

The Majority Leader of the House,
Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, while leading the debate, urged his colleagues to accept
the projections.

Gbajabiamila argued that a sudden
rise in oil price by about $20 in the past few days suggested that the
government could sustain a benchmark of $42.5 proposed in the MTEF.

He also stated that ongoing
negotiations between the government and militants in the Niger Delta were
indications that peace could return to the region to make the 2.2 million
barrels’ daily production projection realisable.

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