Wednesday, December 17, 2014 12:55 pm
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has presented the 2015 budget estimates of about N4.3trillion before the National Assembly.
The document was presented separately to the two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate, in brief ceremonies.
President Goodluck Jonathan should normally have presented the estimates to a joint sitting of the two chambers, but since last year, he decided to delegate the constitutional responsibility to the minister.
There was thus no joint session in wait for Okonjo-Iweala.
The Coordinating Minister of the Economy came to National Assembly with a retinue of other ministers and the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr. Bright Okogu.
No speeches were made during the ceremony, which was brief.
In a letter by President Jonathan to the National Assembly read by Senate president, David Mark, the budget estimate was put at N4.3 trillion, N500 billion less than the initial estimate before the oil prices began their descent to the valley.
Amazingly, the revised estimate was based on $65 per barrel of oil benchmark, at a time oil prices have fallen into the $50s bracket.
The 2015 budget was initially based on an oil market price of $78 per barrel. Then it was revised to $73.
As contained in the revised budget, N627.16 billion will be spent on capital expenditure which includes N380.70 billion for the Ministries, Departments and agencies, N144.42 billion will be capital expenditure in statutory transfers and N102.03 billion for the Subsidy Re-investment Empowerment Programme, SURE-P.
A total of N2,622.42 trillion was earmarked for the recurrent expenditure which includes Personnel costs for MDAs that stands at N1,801trillion, Overheads, N216,56 billion, pensions N228,81 billion and N376.05 budgeted for other service wide votes.
Service on domestic debt is expected to gulp N894.61 billion while that of foreign debt will take N48.39 billion.
President Jonathan had in October indicated a 2014 budget proposal of N4.817 trillion with the oil benchmark put at $78 per barrel in the Medium Term Framework, MTEF presented to the National Assembly.
However, the budget was later cut it down to N4.7 trillion with the benchmark at $73 per barrel before the latest revision of the oil benchmark to $65 per barrel with the total budget size of N4.4 trillion against N4,724.69 trillion budgeted in 2014.
Also, the previous budget estimate had N1,208.37 trillion for capital expenditure but it has been reduced to N627.16 billion which the President explained was as result of the drastic reduction in global oil pric,e while the recurrent expenditure remained N2,622.42 trillion.
The budget going by the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Fiscal Strategic Paper, FSP, was also predicated on the production of 2.2782mbpd for 2015, 2.3271 mbpd and 2.4067 mbpd for 2016 and 2017 respectively.
“Given further developments in the International oil market which have necessitated further revisions, amendment s have been made to some parameters as well as to some fiscal estimates in the MTEF,” the President said on the revision of the MTEF.
“I hereby forward copies of the revised 2015-2017 MTEF for the kind consideration of the Distinguished members of the Senate and hope that it will be considered and approved expeditiously in order to bring 2015 Federal Government of Nigeria budget preparation process to a quick closure.”
“In consonance with the provision of Section 81 Sub-section 1 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, I write to request that the Distinguished Senate grant the Honourable Minister of Finance the slot of 11 am on Wednesday 17th December, 2014, to enable her lay before you the 2015 budget estimates,” the President said on the authority letter for the Minister of Finance to lay the budget estimates.
I am cognisant of the fact that the budget estimate are being presented before the passage of 2015-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF. This is due to the extra-ordinary global circumstances that confronted us in the latter quarter of the 2014 fiscal year.
“As you know the first MTEF with the budget benchmark of $78 per barrel was submitted to the National Assembly on 30th September 2014, and discussion on the MTEF and budget construction based on those estimates began with the relevant Committees of the National Assembly.