House of Representatives on Wednesday approved N1.64 trillion as benchmark for loan to fund the 2019 budget of the federal government.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government had proposed N1.86 trillion in the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper for the fiscal year ending 31st December 2019 submitted to the national assembly last year.
The amount approved was recommended by Committees on Finance, Appropriations, Aids, Loans and Debt Management, Legislative Budget and Research and National Planning and Economic Development which sat on the MTEF and FSP documents.
Considering the report of the committees in the Committee of the Whole, the House adopted the five different recommendations as submitted by the chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Hon. Babangida Ibrahim.
Ibrahim had urged the House to adopt the recommendations of the joint Committees to pave way for consideration and passage of the 2019 Budget.
The recommendations included (1) the adoption of 2.3 million barrels of crude oil production as daily production target.
(2) That the government adopts USD 60 as benchmark for crude oil in the 2109 fiscal year.
(3) That it also adopts N305 to USD1 as official exchange rate for the fiscal year 2019.
(4) Adopt the recommendation of N1.64 trillion as new borrowing to fund Budget deficit and advice relevant agencies to continue exploring ways of generating additional revenues for government to bring down the fiscal deficit.
(5) That the sum of N500, 000,000,000 only special intervention fund is adopted to enjoin the cooperation of relevant committees and other relevant ministries, departments and agencies MDAs in ensuring that the funds are judiciously utilized to provide a positive tangible impact of the funds on the Nigerian people.
Other sub recommendations of the committees also adopted were that the federal government should consider reducing the granting of waivers and exemptions while ensuring that the Nigerian Customs Service personnel are at all oil terminals for accountability and the Federal Inland Revenue Service should consider increasing tax on luxury goods and services.
The House also adopted the recommendation that 20 per cent operating surplus to be remitted by government owned enterprises should be deducted from source.