Controversy As Buhari Presents 2017 Appropriation Bill

By Ikenga Chronicles December 14, 2016
President Muhammadu Buhari will today (Wednesday) present the 2017 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly for debate and passage.This follows the approval of the document by members of the Federal Executive Council on November 30.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, who refused to give details of the budget proposal as approved by the council,  said the President would unveil the document on the floor of the National Assembly.
“The 2017 budget has been approved by the Federal Executive Council and the details will be revealed when the President presents the budget to the National Assembly” Udoma said.
The budget of N6.07tn for 2016 was predicated on a benchmark price of $38 per barrel of crude oil and N197 to a dollar exchange rate. This has however divided members of the House of Representatives who argue that the key parameters of the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework of the budget are not sustainable.
Obviously, the MTEF’s crude oil production benchmark and exchange rate projections for 2017 did not receive the full backing of members.
They voiced their opinions as they debated the MTEF in Abuja on Tuesday, less than 24 hours to the presentation of the 2017 budget estimates to the legislature by the President.
The development came as the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, declared a public hearing on the controversial Oil Prospecting License 245 open, with reports that Nigeria have lost over $1.1bn on the OPL 245, better known as Malabu oil deal.
It is alleged that the FG plans over N7tn next year, but revenue projection is around N4.9tn, a figure that also accommodates a huge deficit.
The Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, while leading the debate, urged his colleagues to accept the projections.  According to him, the increase in oil price by about $20 in the past few days suggested that a benchmark of $42.5 proposed in the MTEF is achievable.
He also stated that ongoing negotiations between the government and militants in the Niger Delta were indications that peace could return to the region to make the 2.2 million barrels’ daily production projection realisable.
This however did not go well with other lawmakers who insisted on a review of the projections to come to terms with economic reality.
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