2017 Budget: Senate Approves “Empty” MTEF/FSP

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As the Senate gets ready to begin the consideration of the 2017 budget, the lawmakers on Wednesday approved the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Fiscal Strategy Paper, MTEF/FSP, which was sent to the senate by President Muhammadu Buhari last year.

It would be recalled that the legislators had in December 2016 described the MTEF document as ’empty’, but during Wednesday’s plenary, almost all the proposals sent by the president, were approved.

The decision was based on the recommendations of the Senate’s committees on Appropriations, Finance and National Planning.

Among the items approved by the Senate was the oil production projection of 2.2 million barrels per day for the 2017 Budget. The lawmakers added, however, that the projection could only be achieved if the Federal Government will be able to curtail the activities of the Niger-Delta militant.

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The Senate also adopted the exchange rate of N305/1USD as proposed by the executive, but warned that the Central Bank of Nigeria should work to close the gap between the parallel market and the official exchange rate.

Also adopted by the lawmakers was the projected N5.122 trillion non-oil revenue. This is lower than the N5.749 trillion approved in 2016.

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The lawmakers also approved the N807.57 billion projected as independent revenue for 2017, which is way lower than the N1.505 trillion approved for 2016.

Also the proposed borrowing of N2.321 trillion was approved. It is made of N1.253 trillion domestic borrowing and N1.067 trillion external borrowing in 2017.

The Senate also approved the N500 billion for Special Intervention Programme in 2017; comprising – N350 billion for recurrent and N150 billion for capital expenditure.

The lawmakers also slightly increased the benchmark price for crude oil in 2017 to USD44.5.

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Projected GDP growth rate and inflation growth rate stand at 2.50% and 12.92% respectively.

The Senate also recommended that the government should implement “drastic measures to achieve self-sufficiency and become exporter of certain agricultural and mining products.”

Wednesday’s plenary was also presided over by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu in the absence of Senate President Bukola Saraki who was attending his trial at the Code of Conduct tribunal.

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