The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has cleared the air on whether or not provision was made for fuel subsidy in Nigeria’s 2015 Budget.
She told reporters on Tuesday in Abuja, the nation’s capital that 100 billion Naira had been set aside in the 2015 Budget for the maintenance of the subsidy while 45.2 billion Naira was appropriated for Kerosene.
“The reports that fuel subsidy was removed from the 2015 budget are untrue,” the Minister said while addressing reporters after a meeting with the economic team held to give update on the 2015 budget passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday, April 28.
This is contrary to the position of the Senate that had passed the Budget 2015 without appropriating any money for subsidy.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala, however, said the provisions made in the budget would not sufficiently cover the outstanding expenses, making it imperative for adjustments to be made especially in line with the adjustment of the benchmark price of 53 dollars per barrel and the cash flow crunch.
She said “presidential assent to the budget is expected over the next few days”, considering the adjustments made by the National Assembly to the proposed appropriation bill which she said were near insignificant.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala said “the Budget, which shows a 67.43 billion Naira increase in the expenditure outlay, moving it up to 4.493 trillion Naira, is a slight difference from that proposed by the President”.
She said the benchmark of oil price was raised a dollar from the proposed 52 dollars per barrel by the lawmakers, generating an extra revenue of 54.25 billion Naira for the Federal Government, to cushion the increments made.
The Minister, however, warned that the country is still facing a cash flow crunch which “must be appropriately and consistently managed until the tide is over”.
She said the borrowing plan was increased by over 300 billion Naira in this year’s budget.
Significant increments made in the 2015 budget awaiting presidential assent are Federal Government revenue raised by 39.294 billion Naira while aggregate expenditure was raised by 67.43 billion Naira.
The aggregate capital expenditure increased by 58.57 billion Naira while the National Assembly allocation increased by five billion Naira.