By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The report on the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) presented to the House of Representatives two months ago by President Muhammadu Buhari has finally been adopted.
However, before the consideration and adoption of the report of the Committees on Finance, Appropriations, Aids, Loans and Debt Management, Legislative Budget and Research and National Planning and Economic Development on the 2018-2020 MTEF and FSP today, the 2018 Appropriation Bill had scaled second reading at the lower parliament without a dissenting voice.
But a member of the House, Mrs Betty Apiafi, had attempted to make her colleagues look into the status of recovered looted fund in funding the 2018 budget without success.
However, Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, stressed that it was important for the legislative arm of government to probe the state of independent revenue of government.
“It is safe to say the 2018 budget will not be funded by recovered looted funds but it is necessary to investigate the independent revenue of government by way of a motion,” Mr Dogara noted.
Looking at the economic realities on ground in relation to global events, the House retained the 2.3 million barrels per day oil production benchmark set by the executive, but the price was raised from $45 per barrel to $47 per barrel.
Also, the N305/$ proposed for the 2018 budget was retained with the apex bank advised to adopt measures to close the gap between the parallel market and the official exchange rate.
In addition, the N5.279 trillion projected for non-oil revenue in 2018 was left intact, while the N1.699 trillion new borrowing for 2018 was also adopted.
Furthermore, the 3.5 percent GDP growth rate was not touched.
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