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N/Assembly raise oil benchmark to $47

The National Assembly yesterday passed the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) for 2018-2020, raising the oil price benchmark from $45 proposed by the executive to $47.

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The 2018 budget presented on November 7, by President Muhammadu Buhari also scaled second reading in both chambers of the Legislature yesterday.

The lawmakers also announced suspension of plenary sessions till 19th December  to enable them interact with heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the implementation of the 2017 budget and the proposal for 2018.

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Except for the oil price benchmark, the other critical assumptions for the MTEF proposed by the executive including daily crude oil Production of 2.3mbpd, exchange rate of N305/USD, GDP growth rate of 3.5 percent Inflation growth rate of 12.42 percent, new Borrowings of N1.699 trillion among others were approved as requested by the executive.

At the Senate, the passage of the MTEF/FSP followed the adoption of the report of the joint committees on Finance, Appropriations and National Planning presented by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi).

The committee had recommended that oil price be pegged at $46.5 per barrel but the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah recommended that it should be reviewed upward to $47 and it was seconded by Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo). The Senate also resolved to include a clause in the Appropriation Act to mandate the executive to revert to National Assembly for any expenditure that would be in variance with approved benchmark.

The Senate has referred the 2018 budget to the committee on Appropriations chaired by Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe).

The House of Representatives also passed the budget and referred it to the committee on appropriation, while other committees will serve as subcommittees.

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