The Senate and the House of Representatives have approved the 2020 to 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The approval, followed the adoption of a 16-point recommendation by the National Assembly Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning, which had earlier considered the MTEF and FSP documents.
One of the recommendations approved by the Senate was to increase the total expenditure estimates in the MTEF/FSP from N10.002 trillion to N10,729.4 trillion, a difference of N729 billion.
The joint committee had conducted a public hearing on the MTEF and FSP on October 2.
The committee had engaged revenue-generating agencies in the country on the contents of the MTEF and FSP forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration.
Following debates by more than 20 senators on the recommendations, the Senate committee adopted $57 per barrel as crude oil benchmark price for the fiscal year 2020.
It also approved the retaining of the N305 to $1 rate to ensure economic stability, as well as 2.18mbpd as daily crude oil production output in 2020.
It noted that 2.18mbpd would be realised, given efforts by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and security agencies to combat oil theft and vandalism.
Also in the recommendations was an increase in the revenue target of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), from N942.6 billion to N1.5 trillion, given the performance of the NCS in the last nine months.
It further recommended that N557.4 billion from the revenue increment of NCS be used to reduce borrowing by N200 billion and increase capital expenditure.
This, it said, would help decrease the size of the budget deficit from N1.7 trillion to N1.5 trillion and also increase capital available to MDAs by N357 billion from N1.01 trillion to N1.367 trillion.
The Senate recommended the adoption of N1.5 trillion as the amount for new borrowing, adding that the borrowing must be tied to critical projects to increase productivity, as well as the earmarking of 1 per cent of the consolidated revenue to finance basic health care.
It recommended that proper investigation be carried out on the electronic collection of stamp duties domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) to ensue accountability and increase revenue.
Another recommendation was proper investigation of the NNPC, to ascertain the actual cost associated with joint venture oil agreements.
The Senate committee called for an urgent review of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and other laws of revenue-generating agencies to align with current realities.
It further urged the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the finance bill, which would be brought along with the budget.
This, it said the passage would make for easy implementation of the 2020 budget, especially in the area of Value Added Tax (VAT).
Remarking on the recommendations, president of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, thanked the committees for the speedy consideration of the MTEF and FSP.
He said the passing of the MTEF and FSP would usher in the presentation of the 2020 budget by President Buhari.
Lawan said there was the need for the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) to widen the tax net to generate more revenue for capital expenditure, stating that there was the need for other revenue generating agencies to provide their revenue performances, noting that only that of the NCS was indicated in the recommendation.
He also called for the diversification of the economy from a mono-economy via agriculture, solid minerals and tourism
Meanwhile, President Buhari will on Tuesday present the 2020 appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly.
The presentation is expected to take place at the House of Representatives wing of the National Assembly by 2pm.
Senate spokesman, Adedayo Adeyeye, made the disclosure yesterday while briefing Senate correspondents after the day’s legislative business.
However, the President was yet to send a letter informing the leadership of the National Assembly of his plans to present a budget to a joint session at the time of filing this report.
Ahead of the presentation, President Buhari will tomorrow preside over an emergency Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting tagged Extraordinary FEC.
A top government functionary confirmed this to Daily Sun on Wednesday evening.
The last time an extra-ordinary FEC held was in January, when the President launched the new enhanced security international e-passport with 10-year validity. The FEC meeting holds weekly on Wednesday at the council chambers.
Adeyeye said the budget will be passed into law on or before Christmas.
“On Tuesday, we will have our sitting in the morning. We will then adjourn and move to the House of Representatives by 2pm to receive the president. That’s what we will do as a Senate. We have resolved to ensure that the budget will be passed soon. We will ensure that we do whatever it takes.
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