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Senate pledges to pass budget in two weeks

By on March 3, 2015

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Ahmed Maccido, on Sunday said that the National Assembly would pass the 2015 appropriation bill within the next two weeks.

He also said that the nation was not broke despite the fall in the price of crude oil and explained why the upper legislative chamber pegged the budget’s crude oil benchmark at $52 per barrel as against the $65 proposed by the executive.

Maccido said the Senate took the decision to reduce the benchmark because “it was the most realistic parameter to execute the 2015 budget.”

President Goodluck Jonathan had in the reviewed Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which was submitted to both chambers of the National Assembly in December last year, pegged the oil benchmark at $65 for the 2015 budget.

But Maccido, who spoke with journalists in Abuja, said his committee, after a series of meetings with the executive arm of government, decided to dump the $65 contained in the MTEF and settled for $52 due to the fluctuations in the price of crude in the international market.

He said, “We’ve always had pre-budget meetings; the legislature and the executive. We’ve been having these series of meetings even before the budget was brought to us. This is a forum where we iron out certain issues, which can be a hindrance to the actual passage of the budget.

“We had a meeting a few days ago where certain parameters were agreed upon but this particular one we didn’t agree with the $65 per barrel of oil, which the executive brought. Nigeria is not broke. We are expecting the passage of the 2015 budget in the next two weeks.

“This is purely the initiative of the Senate, having seen how the economy is going and we believe that the $52 oil benchmark is the most realistic for the 2015 budget.”

He said at the pre-budget meetings with the executive, the National Assembly was more concerned with the completion of ongoing capital projects than new ones.

Maccido added, “This is not something new. The National Assembly has always emphasised completion of projects rather than embarking on new ones.”