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FLASH| Senate Slashes 2016 Budget By 17Bn

by on March 24, 2016
 

Retains $38 oil benchmark, adopts N197 per dollar
· Interior Ministry gets lion’s share of N451.9bn

The National Assembly on Wednesday passed the 2016 Budget after slashing it to N6,060,677,358,227.
The two chambers of the Na­tional Assembly removed N17 billion from the initial sum of N6,077,680,000,000 proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The lawmakers said that they reduced the aggregate expenditure and consequently scaled down the total recurrent, deficit and borrow­ing plan of the Federal Govern­ment in financing the budget.
The reduction in this year’s budget, according to the report of the Joint Senate and House of Rep­resentatives Appropriation Com­mittees, stemmed from the over­head and recurrent expenditure due largely to some inconsisten­cies arising from the allocations to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.

The budget is predicated on a revenue projection of N3.86 tril­lion resulting in a deficit of N2.22 trillion.
A breakdown of the budg­et revealed that it was predicat­ed on a benchmark price of $38 per barrel and a production es­timate of 2.2 million barrels per day for 2016; Statutory Transfers-N351,370,000,000 with a Capital Expenditure of N1.6trn which is a sharp departure from the N557 billion earmarked for Capital Ex­penditure by the last administra­tion in 2015; Fiscal Deficit 2.2trn, a Debt Service-N1.5trn and a Deficit /GDP 2.14 percent.
(a) Recurrent (Non-Debt) ex­penditure -N2.6 trillion (b) For­eign and domestic debt servicing – N1.4 trillion.
A further breakdown of the budget shows that the Ministry of Interior got a lion’s share of the sum of N451.9 billion to top the table, followed by the Education Ministry with the sum of N367.7 billion while Defence played third with the sum of N312.2 billion.
Allocations made un­der statutory transfers in­clude: N70,000,000,000 for National Judicial Council; N41,050,000,000 for Niger Delta Development Commission and N77,110,000,000 for Universal Basic Education (UBE).
Others are N115,000,000,000 for National Assembly; N2,000,000,000 for Pub­lic Complaints Commission; N45,000,000,000 for Independ­ent National Electoral Commis­sion (INEC), and N1,210,000,000 for National Human Rights Com­mission.
The Senate approved the budget sequel to the consider­ation of the report of the Com­mittee on Appropriations, which was laid before the Chamber on Tuesday.
In his highlights on the budg­et report before its clause by clause consideration, the Chair­man of the Appropriations Com­mittee, Senator Danjuma Goje, noted that the Committee adopt­ed the benchmark of $38 per bar­rel of crude oil, 2.2000mbpd oil production and N197/US$1 as proposed by the executive arm.
Goje said that the Committee, in the course of its work on the budget, observed that the 2016 Appropriation Bill, which was the first by the President Buhari’s ad­ministration, was not presented on time to the National Assem­bly, noting that it also affected the timely passage of the bill.
The Committee also observed that the Appropriation Bill was fraught with some inconsisten­cies from the MDAs, resulting in the emergence of different ver­sions of the budget.
Goje said that this devel­opment was strange and went against proper budgetary proce­dures and processes, with atten­dant negative implications on the handling of the money bill.
The Committee further rec­ommended that there should be proper engagement in the fu­ture between the Budget Office of the Federation and the MDAs on budget contents in order to avoid a disconnect in processing of budget proposals.
It also urged government to endeavour to increase and di­versify its revenue generation streams, given the yawning gap between collectible revenue and actual collections.
The Committee also advised that the recurrent component of subsequent budgets should be re­duced, while the capital compo­nents should be increased, so it can deliver the capital thrust of the budget to the people.
However, reacting to the ob­servation of the Appropriations Committee that there were some gaps in the allocations made to some MDAs, the Deputy Pres­ident of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, expressed concern that such loopholes might pose a serious challenge to the success­ful implementation of the budget.
He suggested that it should be addressed by the National As­sembly before final approval was made on the document, to avoid creating avoidable problems in the course of implementation.
He said: “I am a bit worried about the observation made by Senator Goje as contained on page five of the report, which says the 2016 Appropriation Bill contained a number of omissions, particularly in the area of person­nel cost. Though the appropria­tion committee has filled some of the gaps, there are many out­standing cases which could raise serious concerns in the course of the year.
In his remark, Senate Pres­ident Abubakar Bukola Sara­ki, noted that what is unique about this exercise was that for once there was no bickering over benchmark, rather the lawmak­ers devoted time and energy to ensure that the parliament had a budget that is implementable.
After approving the budget, the Senate adjourned plenary to April 12, 2016, to enable the law­makers enjoy their Easter recess
Meanwhile, while briefing journalists on the passage of the 2016 budget, Senior Special As­sistant (SSA) to the President on National Assembly Matters (Sen­ate), Senator Ita Enang, thanked members of the National Assem­bly for doing a good job and pass­ing the budget despite the chal­lenges it faced.
The presidential aide said that both the Committees on Appro­priation were in touch with the Minister of National Planning, Finance, as well as other minis­ters who they had to seek clarifi­cation from.
Saraki also tasked the various standing committees of the Na­tional Assembly to ensure full im­plementation of the 2016 Budg­et through effective use of their oversight duties.
He also pledged that the Sen­ate would immediately com­mence the amendment of the Public Procurement Bill currently before the National Assembly as a way of aiding the effective imple­mentation of the budget.
Saraki said: “The budget re­flects efficient and equitable allo­cation of resources to reduce the challenges that we are all aware of. This budget is a product of bi­partisan engagement, commit­ment and patriotism.”

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2016 Budget Highlights

Projected Revenue: N3.86 trillion
Statutory Transfers – N351.37billion
Capital Expenditure – N1.6trn
Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure – N2.6trillion
Foreign and domestic debt servicing – N1.4trillion
Interior – N451.9billion
Education – N367.7billion
Defence – N312.2billion
NJC – N70billion
NDDC – N41.050billion
Universal Basic Education – N77.110billion
National Assembly – N115billion
Public Complaints Commission – N2billion
INEC – N45billion
NHRC – N1,210,000,000

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