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2014 Budget: Reps recommend 79 dollars per barrel as oil price benchmark

By on December 4, 2013

The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to retain 79 dollars per barrel as the bench mark for the oil price for the 2014 budget.

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Rep. Victor Ogene, said this at a news coference after a closed door meeting of the house that lasted for about two hours.

He said during the session, the house deliberated on several crucial issues, including security and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) on the benchmark.

On the MTEF, Ogene said that the position of the house was that the benchmark of the oil price should be left at 79 dollars per barrel.

He said that while some members supported 79 dollars, others went for 76.5 dollars.

Ogene said that some members argued that the Conference Committee on MTEF should be allowed open hands to go and represent the house.

“The Conference Committee between the House and Senate began its work yesterday (Monday) and last week, as a house, we told you why we had to mandate almost the same set of members to represent us on that committee.

“As you know the position of the house as we speak is on 79 dollars per barrel for crude as benchmark, so as we speak, 79 dollars is the position of the house.”

Ogene, however, said that “several members in their own wisdom also decided that we should give the Conference Committee on MTEF an open mind to go for that kind of negotiation because if you speak on one particular price, it is like foreclosing discussion.

“So if there are superior arguments or fresh facts that would be put before the committee regarding why there had to be a shift, I am sure the committee is better informed now and would be able to take a decision at the conference committee level.

“But of course, what ever they (Conference Committee) come up with, they would have to report back to the house for ratification,” he said.

On the issue of security, he said that the situation in the country was also discussed.

He said that Nigerians were shocked at the level of destruction perpetrated by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State two days ago.

It will be recalled that there had been sharp disagreements between the Presidency and the National Assembly over the benchmark issue.

Meanwhile, the house also resolved to hold a valedictory session for their deceased colleague, Rep. Raphael Nomiye, on Dec. 5.

“At the closed door session, we discussed the burial plans of our late colleague, Rep. Nomiye and a valedictory session will be held for him on Dec. 5.”

He said that the burial of the deceased had been slated for Dec. 7.

The lawmaker said that a member from each state of the federation would represent the house at the burial.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the late Nomiye of Labour Party, representing Eseodo/IIaje Federal Constituency in Ondo State, died on Nov. 22 in Abuja after a brief illness. (NAN)