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Fiscal Framework Tops Agenda At FEC's Emergency Meeting

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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SAN FRANCISCO, August 02, (THEWILL) – Contrary to the much-anticipated cabinet reshuffle by President Goodluck Jonathan at the emergency Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting convened on Friday, FEC moved swiftly to embark on more work on the Medium Term Fiscal Strategy Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTFSF/FSP) presented to it by the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy (CME), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the 2014/2016 appropriation year.

The meeting, which turned out to be a technical session on the fiscal regime of the administration, in which Okonjo-Iweala forwarded a budget forecast against the backdrop of the economy currently growing at 6-7percent in the last two years, also looked at the global environment.

This, according to a source at the meeting, is “to ensure that whatever we come up with will take into account the global realities as well as our local needs.”

Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who addressed State House correspondents after the meeting, in fact, said the meeting discussed budget forecast looking at revenue, expenditure and ways to further grow the GDP, stabilise the macro-economic environment and attract in-flow of foreign investment.

“The meeting,” according to the Minister, “was called to discuss the medium term fiscal framework and the fiscal strategy paper for the 2014/2016 appropriation year.” He said “the council has been discussing the medium term fiscal strategy paper forwarded to us by the CME.”

Maku stated that the meeting also “discussed the planned strategy for the budget between 2014 to 2015,” noting that both the MTFSF/FSP are contained in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 fiscal revenue framework as well as the expenditure framework for the budget of this year.

“What we want is to ensure that the budget for the next two years will consolidate what the President has achieved in the first two years by growing the GDP, stabilising the economy, creating a conducive atmosphere to grow businesses while attending to the nation's most important and basic infrastructural needs to ensure that we keep our eyes on the ball and to ensure that what we do in the next two to three years will further consolidate on the transformation agenda of the President,” Maku said.

The minister said the extra-ordinary FEC meeting was convened to prepare early for the 2014 budget, maintaining that the Federal Government is desirous of stabilising its performance of the last two years during which “lots of successes were recorded in the economy.”

“A lot of successes have already been achieved in the economy and we want to be so consistent in terms of policy direction, in terms of target and objectives we intend to achieve in various sectors of the Nigerian economy. Special time was needed to devote attention to this to have a well prepared budget,” he disclosed.

According to Maku, “we discussed figures but they are not final figures and cannot be disclosed.” He however said the MTFSF/FSP was designed to “keep the early momentum of making the budget ready in time for the deliberations of the National Assembly.”

He stated further: “We will not be able to give details until the final picture emerges. We also want to ensure that this year budget like last year comes early. The early passage of the budget will also improve execution. Last year it was October, so, this year we are hoping to keep the momentum of early passage of the budget. At least submission to the National Assembly should be early so that by January we should have the budget passed.”

“The idea of bringing this to FEC was for us to intensively discuss the budget scorecard for the year between 2014 and 2016 and also to look critically at the revenue we expect and the expenditure for this year and the overall fiscal objective of the government to grow the economy within this period.”