Buhari To Miss 2017 Budget Presentation On October 31

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Presidency’s hope of presenting the N6.86 trillion 2017
Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly by Monday, October 31, 2016 has failed.

There were indications, earlier, that barring any change,
President Muhammad Buhari would present estimates of the 2017 Appropriation
Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly before next Monday.
In preparation for the presentation on October 4, the
President forwarded the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal
Strategy Paper (FSP), for 2017-2019, which explains fundamentals of
government’s revenue and expenditure to the National Assembly in August before
lawmakers embarked on their summer recess.
The MTEF is a precursor to the national budget.
The proposed MTEF/FSP for next year projects aggregate
revenue to fund the 2017 budget  to
increase over the 2016 estimate of N3.855 trillion by about eight per cent (or
about N313 billion).
The content of the document sent to the Senate was the same
draft approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which  pegged the crude oil benchmark for the 2017
budget at $42.50 per barrel and the exchange rate at N290 to one dollar.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo
Udoma, had explained that government intends to use $42.50 as a reference price
in 2017, while  projecting $45 in 2018
and $50 in 2019.
He said, “in terms of oil production, we are keeping to the
same level of this year for 2017 and that is 2.2 million barrels per day. For
2018, 2.3 million barrels per day and for 2019, 2.4 million barrels per day.”
On Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, Udoma said
government was targeting in 2017, a three per cent growth rate, 4.26 in 2018
and for 2019, a 4.04 per cent.
A source in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning
told Daily Sun yesterday that inability of the National Assembly to debate and
approve the MTEF/FSP means no new budget can be prepared and presented to the
National Assembly.
“The framework for the new budget is stuck in the National
Assembly. From the executive side, we concluded work on the budget, having
presented details to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), civil societies and
even the National Economic Council (NEC) headed by Vice President Yemi
Osinbajo.
“After those levels of consultations and approvals, the
MTEF/FSP was then presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), this was
after all federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) had defended
their allocations in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
“Thereafter, the MTEF/FSP was sent to the National Assembly
for consideration and approval.
“As it is, if the National Assembly does not consider the
documents and approve, what will the Budget Office of the Federation and the
Budget Ministry work with?”
Last week, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant  on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita
Enang, has promised the 2017 budget will be presented very early  so that implementation can start in January
2017.
Meanwhile, the Senate will, next week, commence debate on
the Petroleum Industry (Governance)  Bill
(PIB) and possibly, debate amendment of the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) Act. The two bills are among 24 others expected to be debated
next week.
According to its Notice Paper, the MTEF and FSP will be
considered on Wednesday in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
While the report of the Committee on INEC is expected to be
laid by its Chairman, Abu Kyari, on Tuesday, the chamber will deliberate on the
report the following day with a view to taking a decision on amendments of the
law setting up and guiding activities of the commission.
However, the PIB will lead to other major issues which  the Senate would focus on in the week as
passage of the law forms the crux of the legislative efforts aimed at
re positioning the economy.

The PIB has been in the National Assembly since 2008. The
late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua forwarded the bill to the National Assembly,
hoping  that it would reform the oil and
gas sector.

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