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FEC in emergency meeting to discuss 2014 budget

By The Citizen
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Some people’s expectations were dashed by the outcome of the emergency meeting of the Federal Executive Council called by President Goodluck Jonathan which many thought was meant for a shake up his cabinet. However, the council actually discussed the medium-term fiscal framework for 2014-2016 fiscal years.

The meeting was also called as part of government’s effort towards ensuring that it submits next year budget to the National Assembly early enough so that the budget could be passed and ready for implementation latest by January 2014.

Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that lasted over three hours, said the meeting was called because of the urgency of the matter that needed to be addressed alone and not in the regular council meeting.

Details of the framework were not disclosed because according to Maku figures especially are not yet final, describing the exercise as work in progress.

Maku said council members considered the country’s expected revenue and expenditure for the next three years, adding that the  exercise, was to ensure that Nigeria consolidates on the achievements of the last two years and further grow the Gross Domestic Product in order to ensure that the country remains the fastest growing economy on the continent.

Maku disclosed further that the Ministry of Finance was expected to go back and inculcate the observations made by council members during the emergency meeting in order to produce good budgets.

According to him, “The meeting was called to discuss the medium term fiscal framework  and the fiscal strategy paper for the 2014/2016 appropriation years. We have been discussing the medium term fiscal strategy paper forwarded to us by the CME.

“We discussed the planned strategy for the budget between 2014 to 2016. The medium term fiscal strategy and the fiscal policy strategy paper are contained in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 fiscal revenue framework as well as the expenditure framework for the budget of this year.

“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 these years and the overall fiscal objective of the government to grow the economy within this period.

“It is an elaborate policy paper that was brought to us. We have been debating it to see that the budget between now and 2016 realise the the objective of growing the GDP, stabilising the macro-economic environment which has ensured that Nigeria remain the fastest growing economy in the continent as well as the destination for the inflow of foreign investment into the continent.

“So we are looking at the budget objective, budget policy and the direction that we want the economy to go and how it could impact on the welfare and well being of the people of Nigeria.

“It is a technical paper, we have begun discussion on it, it is work in progress. We have made the first observation which the CME will be going back to work on further before it is openly tabled at the National Assembly. This is what we have been doing since morning.”