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Oil Benchmark: “Adopt $80 or Resign” – Lawmakers to Okonjo Iweala

By on October 16, 2012

Crude Oil Barrels


Nigeria’s lawmakers, despite having no valid economic principles on which to base the call for the hike in the oil benchmark in the 2013 budget, have asked the Finance Minister and by extension the Presidency not to tinker with their wishes.

The House of Representatives, upset by the superior arguments brought forward by the President’s economic team on why $80 is not a reasonable oil benchmark, have refused to back down in their resolution. Analysts are speculating that the call for a higher benchmark may be to serve some hidden interests, including the wishes of governors who prefer that more money be allocated to them on a monthly basis rather than saving for a rainy day.

The Lawmakers are threatening fire and brimstone if the Executive should go ahead and stick with the $75 benchmark, calling their $80 revision a law as it has been passed in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Dr. Abdulmunin Jibrin, said, “When the Minister of Finance says that $80 should not be accepted, we expect that the minister should be knowledgeable enough to understand that the budget was based on the MTEF and we are sticking to it, there would be no going back. It is finality.

“And if she is not willing to accept it as finality, as an enlightened person, as a civilised person, and somebody who claims to respect the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is expected of her to resign honourably.

“What she is simply doing is that she is going against the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is what the law of the federation says; it is not a law of the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance.

“She cannot be above the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But, if she claims that she is above the law, let’s watch and see what will happen.”

He added, “I think in the first place, it is a non-issue. We are not being fair to the laws of the federation if we start asking ‘what is the way out of this’? The executive arm said $75 per barrel and we said $80. The reality of the matter is that the House of Representatives is operating from the point of the law.  Our argument is driven from the laws of the land and that is where we derive our strength.

“The law provides that the executive proposes and the National Assembly makes modifications and approves the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, which is supposed to constitute the ingredient that the executive will use to present the budget.

“Even if the budget is a proposal that the law allows the executive to make, then, we have the powers of appropriation.”


  1. Oseun

    October 16, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Our lawmakers need to go back to school!

  2. chris

    October 18, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Most of our lawmakers are failed businessmen, school dropouts, failed contractors, failed politicians, and do not know their way in financial issues. Please law makers kindly go back to school or subscribe to BBC 1 or Skynews and see how legislators from other clime conduct their business. Okonjo Iweala has made her valid points. Our lawmakers are only grandstanding because they know she will not give them bribe to pass the budget. Do they even understand what is meant by using a benchmark price to create a budget. Simple economics and they playing politics with it. A WORD IS ENOUGH FOR THE WISE.