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Reps Pass 2017 Budget

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…adopts $44.50 pb Bench Mark

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved the 2017 budget with a N143bn increase to the the N7.29trn presented by President Muhammadu Buhari bringing it to N7.441trn.

The increase according to the Chairman, Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Mustafa Bala Dawaki, is to make provisions for the second Abuja run-way, funding of the long abandoned Itakpe-Warri rail line, the Abeokuta Airstrip and improvements of the country’s inland waterways.

The House also jacked up the benchmark from US$42.50 to US$42.50 per barrel but retained the parameters of crude oil production rate of 2.2million barrels per day and an exchange rate of 305/USD.

A breakdown of the budget shows that stationary transfers is at N419,020,648,000; N177,460,296,707 is for debt service, N2,979,151,756,196 is for recurrent(non-debt) expenditure while N2,058,989,578,538 is for capital expenditure.

Dawaki who recalled that the committee in conjunction with its Senate counterpart held a public hearing on the budget said “the hearing amongst other things, opened a link with different sectors and sections of the polity to assist the National Assembly with informed sectoral input as well as opened up space for more inclusive and participatory engagement”, Dawaki said.

Similarly, the chairman, committee on media and publicity, Hon. Abdurazak Namdas “although the budget is termed “budget of recovery and growth”, it could be called the people’s budget because of the public hearing held on it.

“National Assembly he said conducted the hearing because it felt the need to get the opinion of the public and we to excited about it”.

He expressed hope that the capital expenditure will help “rejig” the economy and take it out of recession especially with allocations to the power, agriculture and defense.

The lawmakers also unanimously approved that the budget runs for a course of 12 months, starting from the date the president assents to in as provided for in Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution.

From the N2, 086,196,473,860 approved for Recurrent (non-debt expenditure) ministry of interior received the highest sum of N472,597,817,561. Ministry of Defence got N398,686,819,418 while Education and health received N330,543,309,223 and N252,854,396,662 respectively.

Also, N1,663,885 was set aside for debt servicing and N177,460 billion as sinking fund to retire maturing loans, making a total of N1,841,345 billion for debt management.

Under the Service Wide Vote and Pensions,the Federal Government allocated N2, 599 billion for the benefits of retired Heads of the Civil Service of the Federation, this is while N4bn was allocated for Treasury Single Account operations and N2.5 billion is to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on 14 December 2016 presented a budget of N7.298 trillion   before a Joint Session of the National Assembly.

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