Budget: Senate approves N4.493tr for 2105 …drops appropriation for fuel subsidy
The Senate yesterday harmonized with the House of Representatives by appropriating N4, 493,363,957,158 as the budget for the 2015 fiscal year.
This is coming even as the lawmakers asked the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, to send the National Assembly a supplementary budget that would take care of glaring shortcomings in the Appropriation Act
Appropriation Committee Chairman Senator Ahmed Maccido presented the recommendations of his committee and the Committee on Finance on the 2015 Appropriation Bill.
Like the budget passed by the House of Representatives, no appropriation was made for fuel subsidy.
Some said the implication was that fuel subsidy had been tactically stopped. Others hinted that with the fall in oil prices in the international market, fuel subsidy should also be affected.
Maccido noted in his submission that given that due consideration had been given to the preparation of the 2015 Appropriation Bill, the joint committee recommended that the Senate should approve the Bill for an Act to authorise the issue from the consolidated revenue fund of the federation the total sum of N4,493,363,957,158 only for the year ending 31 December this year.
Out of the amount, N375,616,000,000 is for statutory transfers; N953,620,000,000 for debt service; N2,607,132,491,708 for recurrent (non debt) expenditure while the balance of N556,995,465,449 inclusive of N144,420,000,000 in statutory transfer is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending 31st December, this year.
Maccido explained that Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) component of the budget to the tune of N21,030,000,000 did not form part of the aggregate budget figure of N4,425,930,000,000.
He said the amount had however been captured in the final compilation of the Bill having been submitted for the approval of the National Assembly.
Maccido also said in preparing this year's budget, the committee adopted a benchmark price of $53 per barrel of crude oil on the recommendation of the Conference Committee on Medium Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).
He said the committee also adopted the executive proposal of crude oil production of 2.2782 million barrel per day (mbpd) and the exchange rate of N190 to $1.
Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi who spoke to our reporter on the budget said there would be need to realign the budget to fit into the priorities of the incoming administration.
He said the realignment would naturally be in form of supplementary budget for necessary amendment
He said: 'The budget is staggering into two successive administrations coming from different political parties.
'So it is normal that with the kick-off of the new administration, one would expect that the new administration look into the budget to see how it fits into his (Buhari's) own priorities.