Senate approves N305/dollar for MTEF, places oil at $44.5/par barrel

The Senate on Wednesday adopted the exchange rate of N305 for a US dollar, as proposed by the executive for the 2017 fiscal year.

This comes on the heels of Senate’s worry about the gap between the parallel market and the official exchange rate.

The Upper legislative house has therefore urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to initiate measures to close the gap.

The Lawmakers also adopted the oil benchmark production of 2.2 million barrel per day and $44.5 per barrel as benchmark price for 2017 budget, as recommended by the executive.

Senate on 23rd November, 2016, considered the request of President Muhammadu Buhari on the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) and referred same to the Committees on Finance; Appropriation; and National Planning, for further legislative action.

Presenting the report at Wednesday’s plenary, the Chairman of Finance Committee, Senator John Enoh said the joint committees had interactive session with the Federal Ministries of Finance; Budget and Planning; Mines and Steel Development; and other agencies.

“In its determination to arrive at a realistic MTEF and FSP for the next 3 years, the committee considered the actual performance of the 2016 Budget and the previous MTEF and FSP”, Enoh said.

The Joint Committees observed that the core parameters of the 2016 budget were based on a benchmark oil price of $38 per barrel, oil production of 2.2m barrel per day and exchange rate of N197 per Dollar.

“However, available records show that between January to October 2016, the country produced an average of 1.7m barrels per day. Frequent destruction of oil installations by the Niger Delta Militants have been blamed for the decline “, Senator Enoh added.

He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to curtail the activities of Niger Delta Militants, in order to halt the drop in crude oil production, and in order to achieve the 2.2m barrels benchmark for the year 2017.

On non – oil revenue projection, the Senate approved the projected N5.122 trillion in 2017, with the task on revenue generating agencies to intensify revenue collections drive.

The Senate also adopted the sum of N807.57bn for the Federal Government Independent Revenue for the 2017 fiscal year.

It however, recommended the review of the legal framework of relevant agencies and government owned enterprises.

“This will ensure that agencies pay operating surplus and remit appropriately, their gross revenues into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF)”, it added.

On Domestic and Foreign Debts, the Senate approved the projected additional domestic borrowing of N2.321 trillion with additional foreign borrowing of N1. 067 trillion.

The Lawmakers, however, insisted that such borrowings “should be on project-tied basis”.

To cushion the effects of the economic recession on the youths and ordinary citizens, the Senate approved  N350 billion as Recurrent expenditure and N150 billion as Capital budget for 2017 fiscal year. This is target at social intervention schemes, job creation, to pursue gender-sensitive and also encourage entrepreneurship and innovation among young graduates.

The Senate urged the government to be self – sufficient and also export certain agricultural and mining products.

“In addition, increase local production of maize, soya, poultry and livestock, so as to achieve self-sufficiency as well as attracting investment into the solid minerals; tourism and entertainment sectors “, the Senate added.