Senate: 2010 Budget Review Debate Put On Hold
ABUJA, June 29, (THEWILL) - Theã€€proposal to review the 2010 budget sent to the senate by the executiveã€€was today put on holdã€€as the Senate suspended debate on its general principles atã€€plenary.
The Senators alsoã€€put a breakã€€on the supplementary budget debateã€€due toã€€certain issuesã€€and concerns’ on the bill which could not beã€€addressed before the plenary.
Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP, Cross River), Deputy Senate Leaderã€€who announced the suspension of debate on the billã€€said the two bills hadã€€some issues, which are yet to be addressed.
He didã€€not disclose what the issues were butã€€sources at the upper chamberã€€revealed that the Senators were notã€€happy with the deductions from the affected sectors.
The Executiveã€€had earlierã€€in theã€€monthã€€asked the National Assembly toã€€effect a downward review of the 2010 budgetã€€owing toã€€dwindling government revenue.
There areã€€indications that consideration of the bills may however continue on Wednesday.
Theã€€review willã€€cut federal expenditure and reduce the oil price benchmark by atã€€least $10. President Jonathan is askingã€€the lawmakers to reduceã€€the oil benchmark price, initiallyã€€set by the lawmakers to $67, back to its earlier $57 per barrel.
In a letter to bothã€€upper andã€€the lower chambersã€€in May this year, President Jonathan affirmed his earlier position, that the N4.6086 billion budget, which he signed into law in April 2010, was no longerã€€realistic in the face of global economicã€€realities.
"Recent revenue developments indicate significant shortfalls in both oil and non-oil revenue, which may well continue for the rest of the fiscal year, with adverse implications for the financing of the budget,"ã€€Jonathan said.
"Given the recent drop in international oil prices from the over $80 per barrel to under $70 per barrel, it is prudent to revise the oil benchmark price to a more realistic level."
In his letter, President Jonathanã€€avoidedã€€pinpointing his preferred figures for either the oil price or the total reduction, but he is said to have called for a total budget reduction by 40 percent.
On the supplementary budget, the President also requested for fresh appropriation for "critical expenditure heads that were either inadvertently omitted or under provisioned for."
Followingã€€the 2010 budgetã€€slash proposal for an additional supplementary budget to authorize the executive access to N639.8 billion from the Consolidate Revenue Fund was put forward.
The bulk of the supplementary budget, about N507 billion is for recurrent expenditure while the balance N132.6 billion is for contribution to the Development Fund for additional capital expenditure.
A large chunk of the N507 billion set aside for the recurrent expenditure will be shared amongst the office of the Secretaryã€€to the Governmentã€€of the Federation, Foreign Affairs ministry, Information and Communication ministry and the Ministry of Women Affairs to be used for Nigeria at 50.