Budget – N’Assembly adopts $53 as oil benchmark

The Senate and the House of Representatives have settled for $53 as the crude oil benchmark price for the 2015 budget.

Investigations by our correspondent on Wednesday showed that the Conference Committee of the two chambers had agreed on the figure ahead of today’s (Thursday) anticipated passage of the N4.3tn budget by the National Assembly.

The committee, which concluded its meeting on Wednesday, also slashed the budget of the National Assembly by N30bn. This means a cut in the original figure of N150bn to N120bn.

The two chambers of the National Assembly had earlier opted for separate oil benchmark figures before the reconciliation.

While the Senate settled for $52, the House of Representatives recommended $54. However, both chambers adopted $53 as the final figure after harmonisation.

A senior National Assembly official, who was part of the meeting, confided in our correspondent that N190 was also agreed as the exchange rate of the naira to the United States dollar.

The source said, “These are far-reaching decisions, which will serve the country’s interest within the present circumstances. As a legislature, we have also cut our own budget down to N120bn from the N150bn it has been for some years now.

“Again, on the omnibus Service Wide Vote, we have agreed that it should be scrapped from the budget.”

The Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Mr. John Enoh, and his counterpart in charge of Finance, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, could not be reached for comments before filing this report.

Punch

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