By Dipo Olowookere
A Senator representing Bayelsa Central constituency of Bayelsa State in the National Assembly, Mr Emmanuel Paulker, has described most assumptions in the 2018 budget presented to the parliament by the executive as wrong.
On November 7, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari presented a budget proposal of N8.6 trillion to a joint session of the National Assembly for consideration and approval.
During his presentation, the President said the 2018 budget deficit is about N2.01 trillion and will be financed mainly through new borrowing of N 1.7 trillion while the balance of NGN 306 billion is expected to come from the privatisation of non-oil assets.
Furthermore, Mr Buhari put the benchmark crude oil price at $45 per barrel with oil production estimate at 2.3 million barrels per day.
In addition, the exchange rate was pegged at N305/ $ for 2018, while the real GDP growth was estimated to be at 3.5 percent, and the inflation rate at 12.4 percent.
But the Senator, who doubles as the Chairman Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, while speaking at the plenary last Thursday, described these assumptions as unrealistic.
He called on his colleagues to look into them with a view to addressing them.
“Most assumptions on the budget is wrong, we need to properly look into these (assumptions),” the Senator said during the consideration of a Bill for an act to authorize the issue from consolidated revenue fund of the Federation the total sum of N8.6 trillion last Thursday.
Reacting, the Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki, promised that the upper parliament will look into the matter when they resume tomorrow (Tuesday, December 5, 2017).
“Our focus has always been on the concerns of the issue of assumptions, when we take the Medium- Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) on Tuesday, we will discuss it and debate it so we can now look into the budget,” Mr Saraki stated.
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