The House of Representatives for most parts concurred with the Executive on the basic parameters in the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The approval of both documents came through despite attempts by a member, Betty Apiafi to draw the attention of the House to the status of recovered looted fund in funding the 2018 budget.
House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila in response to Apiafi’s calls, reminded lawmakers that the consideration was about MTEF report.
But Chairman Committee of Supply, Speaker Yakubu Dogara intervened by saying, it has become necessary for the House to investigate the state of independent revenue of government.
The consideration sailed smoothly, even as the report was adopted without a dissenting voice.
Before the consideration and the 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, the 2018 Appropriation Bill had scaled second reading on the floor of the Green Chamber, with majority support.
Following the referral of the document to the joint Committee last week, in his opening remarks Ibrahim Babangida, said the Committees took into consideration, the economic realities on ground coupled with recent global events.
In consideration of the recommendations, the House resolved that benchmark for crude oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day be retained as proposed by the Executive for the 2018 Budget.
The House also recommended that $47 per barrel as the benchmark for the fiscal year 2018 be adopted. This is in consideration of the current positive outlook in the global oil market and expectation that OPEC and other allied oil partnership countries will sustain oil production “cuts deep” into 2018.
The ₦305/US Dollar as proposed by the executive for the 2018 Budget was adopted.
“It is also advised that CBN should adopt measures to close the gap between the parallel market and the official exchange rate.”
“The House also adopted projected ₦5.279 trillion for non-oil revenue in 2018, “In addition, revenue generating agencies should intensify efforts on collections and measures that would reduce revenue loss. Specifically, Pioneer status and Tax incentives must be beneficial to the economy,” Babagida said.
The ₦1.699 trillion new borrowing for 2018 as proposed by the Executive was also adopted.
“However, borrowing must be project-tied. In borrowing more, government must remain focused and ensure it is used to fund critical projects that will increase productivity and contribute to financing such debt,” Babangida stated.
The House also adopted the recommendation that a 3.5 percent growth rate be adopted, especially with the latest figures indicating a doubling of growth rate to 1.4 percent in third quarter, 2017.
Furthermore, the National Assembly was also directed to amend the relevant Sections of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and other extant laws.
The House also approved the$350m borrowing plan for the Kaduna bye pass after being presented by Chairman, Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management, Ajayi Adeyinka.
The borrowing plan was presented to the House though President Muhammadu Buhari.