Nigeria: National Assembly raises 2017 national budget expenditure without national consensus

THE NEWSGHOST NIGERIA – Nigeria’s National Assembly (NASS) finally passed the long anticipated 2017 national budget on Thursday, May 11, after raising the total national budget expenditure figure by ₦143 billion, leaving the total at ₦7.441 trillion.

The budget was adjusted and passed without any attempt to seek public consensus or presidential consideration however.

According to report, the increase in the national budget figure was warranted by the mark up of the benchmark crude oil price to $44.5 per barrel from the $42.5 per barrel recommended by the president. However, NASS maintained the daily crude oil production level of 2.2 million barrel and the exchange rate of ₦305 to $1 prescribed by the president.

NASS by itself adjusted its own allocation on the budget by ₦10 billion before passing the budget.

After the passage of the bill, Dogara Yakubu, Speaker of the House of Representatives, reportedly warned the executive (presidency) that on no account should the figures of the budget be altered without the approval of the National Assembly.

Senate President Bukola Saraki also said, ‘We believe that the budget we have done this time will bring value to all of us.’

Experts told journalists that the budget may face a deficit when crude oil prices drop below the current benchmark prescribed in the bill.

In a statement released on Thursday, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has released over ₦1.2 trillion capital votes as the 2016 fiscal plan ended last week, on May 5.

She also highlighted that the three key beneficiaries of the funds released were the following ministries: Power, Works and Housing; Defence and Security; and, Transport and Aviation. The ministries had been allocated over ₦307.411 billion, ₦171.900 billion and ₦143.121 respectively.

Buhari’s administration has been applauded for allocating a generous 2.177 trillion in the national budget for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure.

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