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Senate passes MTEF, jerks up expenditure by N729bn

The Senate has passed the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) submitted earlier to it by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Senate Committee on Finance while presenting its report at plenary on Thursday for debate, noted that the approved MTEF/FSP for 2020-2022 had an increase in the Federal Government’s proposed expenditure for 2020 from N10.002trillion to N10,729.4trillion.

The Committee led by Senator Solomon Adeola also increased the oil benchmark from $55 per barrel to $57 per barrel, representing a $2 increase.

The Senate during its debate also increased the 2020 revenue target by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) from N942.6 billion to N1.5trillion.

It, however, retained the exchange rate at N305 per dollar and oil production benchmark at 2.18mbpd as proposed in the MTEF/FSP by the executive.

The Committee also recommended the adoption of N1.5 trillion as the amount for new borrowing by the Federal Government in 2020, as a result of reduction of N200 billion which was sourced from the increase of revenue target of the Nigeria Custom Service.

The Committee further called for an urgent review and amendment to the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA Act) and the various laws of the revenue generating agencies to align with current realities.

Other recommendations by the committee which were approved by the Senate were:

“Following intensive engagement with NNPC and relevant information obtained during the session, the Committee recommends the adoption of 2.18mbpd as daily production output in 2020. In view of concerted effort by NNPC and security agencies the menaces of oil theft and vandalization, the 2.18mbpd would be realizable.

“The Committee recommends the adoption of $57/barrel as crude oil benchmark price for the fiscal ear 2020.

“The revenue target of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of N942.6 billion for 2020 should be increased to N1.5 trillion, as a result of the performance of NSC in last 9 months with 3 months still outstanding.

“The NCS revenue as at September stood at N1 trillion against the budget figure of N969. 8 billion for the year 2019. The Joint Committee commends the NCS for exceeding the targeted revenue despite the global economic challenges and closure of the Nigerian borders.

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“The sum of N557.4 billion from the revenue increment of NCS be used to reduce borrowing by N200 billion and increase capital expenditure thereby decreasing the size of the budget deficit from N1.7 trillion to N1.5 trillion and also increase the total capital available to MDA by N357 billion, from N1.01 trillion to N1.367 triilion.

“The exchange rate of N305/$ should be maintained for economic stability. While more work should be done by the Honourable Minister of Finance and all economic advisers and her team on improving the economic growth by increasing the GDP and reducing the inflation rate to single digit.

“The saving on income accruing from the increase of the benchmark amounting to N172 billion which represent the Federal government potion of the $2 added to the benchmark be used to pay salaries and emolument of the proposed 30,000 new employees.

“Proper investigation be carried out on the e-collection stamp duties domicile with Central Bank of Nigeria for the past years so as to show probity and accountability and of course increase the revenue base of the country.

“Immediate amendment of the National Assembly Act on Production sharing Contracts (PSC) with lOCs. Proper investigation be carried out on NNPC so as to ascertain the actual cost associated with the Joint Venture agreements.

“More Government Owned Enterprises budget be added to the nation’s budget to ensure proper checks and balances among all Federal Government agencies.

Debt Management Office (DMO) should put more efforts and strategies in managing foreign and local debts.

“Total estimated expenditure of the Federal Government should be increased from N10.002 trillion to N10,729.4trillion.

“National Assembly should expedite action on the passage of the finance bill which will be brought along with the National Budget into Law for easy implementation of the 2020 budget, most especially in the area of VAT.

“The Committee calls for an urgent review/amendment to the FRA Act and the various Laws of the revenue-generating agencies to align with current realities.

“The Committee recommends earmarking 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to finance the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund to be classified as Statutory Transfer.

“The Committee recommends the adoption of N1.5 trillion as the amount for New Borrowing as a result of reduction of N200 billion which was sourced from the increase of revenue target of the Nigeria Customs Service.

“However borrowing must be project tied. ln borrowing more government must remain focused and ensure that it used to fund critical projects that will increase productivity and contribute to finance financing such debt.”

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