Senate yesterday approved N4.69 trillion as the 2014 budget against the N4.642 trillion presented to the National Assembly by President
The new budget approved by the Senate was increased by N53 billion but is significantly lower than the N4.987 trillion passed by the National Assembly.
Highlights of the 2014 budget as approved by the senate are, Statutory Transfers (N408,687,801,891), Debts Service (N712,000,000,000), Recurrent Expenditure (N2,454,887,566,702), Capital Expenditure (N1,119,614,631,407) while the Aggregate Expenditure is N4,695,190,000,000.
This was against Jonathan’s proposal of N4,642,960,000,000 which included, N399,687,801,891( statutory transfers) N712,000,000,000 (debt service), N2,430,665,361,597 (recurrent, non-debt expenditure) while the balance of N1,100,606,836,512 is for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure.
The committee adopted a benchmark price of $77.50 per barrel of crude oil, a crude oil production of 2.38m barrels per day and an exchange rate of N160 to $1.
There is also a Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) component of the budget to the tune of N268,370,000,000 for the year 2014, which did not form part of the aggregate budget figure of N4.6429 trl but has been captured in the final compilation of the bill.
Senate President David Mark commended senators for the timely consideration of the budget but appealed to the Presidency to ensure efficient and effective implementation of the budget.
Twenty-three days after President Jonathan inaugurated the National Conference, Senate approved N7 billion as the confab’s budget which will last just three months. Presenting the report of the joint Committees on Appropriation and Finance, senator Ahmed Mohammed Maccido expressed worry about the frequent drop in oil production volume as reflected in the budget estimates of the past two years. He described it as “a disturbing phenomenon,” adding that the reason for that could be traced to the obstruction to oil production as a result of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft.
He also noted the appalling state of budget implementation in the country as still a worrying recurring decimal for the economy.
For instance, he said the unspent funds that were being rolled over into the economy only make a mockery of development which is a dire necessity across the nation and that the government must be seen to be taking steps to improve it.