Senate adopts $28 oil price for reviewed 2020 budget

• Describes saving in Natural Resource Development Account as wasteful

Some parameters earlier adopted for the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) by the Senate in its review of the 2020 budget have been tinkered with by the Senate.

Affected in this new legislative work are the oil price benchmark earlier fixed at $25 per barrel now jerked up to $28 per barrel.

The red chamber also reduced from 1.9 million barrel per day to 1.8million barrel per day, oil production proposed by the executive in the MTEF/FSP documents.

The Senate differ with the Executive over monies kept in the Natural Resources Development Accounts describing such economic decision by the Executive as wasteful at a time when the economy need be reflated

The decision of the Senate on these figures followed consideration of the report of its committee on Finance mandated the Senate to work on the document and present to the plenary for further action and adoption.

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Other critical parameters like exchange rate of N360 to a US dollar, 14 .43 inflation growth rate 4.42 GDP growth rate were retained by the Senate.

Other proposals retained are N5.09 trillion FGN’s revenue, N10.51 trillion proposed expenditure, N4.95 trillion fiscal deficit, N4.17 trillion new borrowings (including Foreign and domestic Borrowings.)

The Senate also retained N398.5 billion as Statutory transfers, N2.68 trillion for debt serving, N272.9 billion as a sinking fund, N536.7 billion for Pension and gratuities.

The upper legislative chamber also retained the critical components of the proposal as presented by the executive with the adoption of N10.51 trillion as total expenditure, N4.93 trillion as total recurrent, N2.83 Trillion for personnel cost and N2.23 trillion for capital expenditure.

Chairman of the Committee Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West) in his submission said the increase effected on the oil price benchmark was as a result of the recent upward trend of the crude oil market which as today stood at $38 per barrel with a very strong expectation that the price will rise to like $40 to $45 per barrel.

In his remarks after the adoption of the report, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, urged the Senate Committee on Privatization to liaise with the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) in ensuring that the projected N260billion from proceeds of privatized agencies, is realised and accordingly used to fund the budget.

He frowned at some of the special accounts being kept by the executive, particularly the Natural Resources Development Accounts.

According to him, such accounts at this time of scarcity of funds to finance the budget are not all that necessary.

“Keeping monies in Natural Resources Development Accounts is more of waste than serving critical purposes,” he said.

He thereafter adjourned sitting of the Senate to Tuesday next week for consideration and possible passage of the revised N10.509 trillion 2020 budget.

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