Okonjo-Iweala Presents N4.357trn 2015 Budget To NASS Today

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, will today lay the 2015 budget estimates before the two chambers of the National Assembly.

According to the revised Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which was re-presented to the Senate on Tuesday, the minister would be presenting a budget of N4.357.96 trillion.

President Goodluck Jonathan had, in a letter to the Senate President, David Mark, on Tuesday, asked the lawmakers to accommodate Okonjo-Iweala around 11.00 a.m. today for the purpose of laying the budget on the table for consideration.

Also, the president, in his communication to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, pleaded for 11.00 a.m. sitting allocation for the minister to present the budget estimates.

The president had explained that the volatility in the global oil market was responsible for the unstable nature of government estimates, as well as issues in handling of the MTEF and the 2015 budget proposals.

He stated that notwithstanding the price volatility, the government would not revise the figures further, adding that necessary adjustments would be done in case of future price drops.

However, at the House of Representatives, Honourable Tambuwal had to shot down moves to defer the presentation, as he ruled out Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, the Minority Leader, who had raised a point of order, moving against the request of the president.

Gbajabiamila, who raised point of order, relying on order 6 rule one of the House, said the president must present the budget himself and not by proxy.

The point of order was countered by Honourable Leo Ogor, who maintained that Section 1 and 81 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, was clear on powers of the president to delegate his function.

At this point, the Speaker said Section 81 (1) was very clear and ruled Honourable Gbajabiamila out of order.

Honourable Ogor then moved that the minister should be allowed to lay the 2015 appropriation today by 11.00 a.m.

Honourable Aliyu Madaki also rose to object the presentation of the budget estimate for 2015 on the ground that Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and oil benchmark should be approved before the budget presentation.

The Speaker, while ruling him out, also said that the House was running out of time for the budget presentation.

He then pleaded that the budget presentation should be done today, while the revised version of MTEF document would be treated before the budget.

Meanwhile, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, on Tuesday, held a closed door session with the House Leadership on 2015 budget estimates.

The meeting, it was learnt, was on the need for the adjustment of some parameters of the MTEF as a result of crash of crude oil price.

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