The Senate yesterday approved the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), of the federal government six months after it was sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari in November last year.
The upper legislative chamber also yesterday directed its Appropriations Committee to ensure that the 2019 budget report is laid before it tomorrow.
The approval of the MTEF and FSP by the Senate was sequel to the presentation of the 18-page report of the Committee on Finance by the committee Chairman, Senator John Enoh (Cross River Central), which considered the president’s request.
While adopting N1.64 trillion borrowing to fund the budget deficit, the Senate, however, advised relevant government agencies to continue exploring ways of generating additional revenues for government to bring down the fiscal deficit.
“Also, the federal government should harness the full optimal potential of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in terms of revenue generation to minimise the level of new borrowing,” the committee added.
The upper legislative chamber approved all the critical projections in the MTEF/FSP as proposed by the executive arm of the government.
The MTEF/FSP, a three-year rolling expenditure plan, spells out the medium-term expenditure priorities and provides the basis for the preparation of the annual national budget.
The Senate retained the oil output of 2.3 million barrel per day oil price benchmark of $60 per barrel; an exchange rate of N305/$1; GDP Growth rate of three per cent; and inflation growth rate of 9.98 per cent.
Other provisions of the MTEF and FSP approved by the Senate include: proposed expenditure of N8.83 trillion; FGN retained revenue of N7.92 trillion; fiscal deficit of N1.86 trillion; statutory transfers of N492.4 billion; debt service N2.14 trillion; Sinking Fund of N120 billion; total recurrent (non-debt) N4.72 trillion; personnel costs (MDAs) N2.29 trillion; capital expenditure of N2.86 trillion; Special Intervention of N500 billion, among others.
Earlier in his presentation, Enoh admitted that crude oil production output stood at two million barrels as of December 2018, and explained that the 2.3million daily target was achievable “due to the continuous efforts of all stakeholders in checkmating the issues of oil facilities vandalism and other vices associated with such regard”.
While recommending an exchange rate of N305/$1, the committee encouraged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) “to continue adopting strategies that will aid the strengthening of the naira and bridging the gap between the official and parallel market rate of the foreign exchange”.