Senate Passes N4.493tn Budget, without Fuel Subsidies
Written by Taiwo Adediran on April 29, 2015
Five months after it was presented to the National Assembly, the Senate on Tusday passed a N4.493 trillion budget for the 2015 fiscal year.
The approved budget is N51 billion higher than the N4.425 trillion submitted to both chambers of the National Assembly by the federal government and tied with the budget passed by the House of Representatives last week.
However, the budget passed by the Senate excluded provisions for fuel and kerosene subsidies in 2015.
In passing the budget, the Senate slightly reduced the N2,607,601,000,300 proposed by the executive to N2,607,132,491,708 for recurrent spending and simultaneously scaled down capital expenditure from N642,848,999,699 to N556,995,465,449.
The budget was predicated on a $53 per barrel oil benchmark, an exchange rate of N190.00 to $1, crude oil production of 2.2782 million per barrel per day, and a deficit as a percentage of GDP of 1.12 per cent or N1.075 trillion.
The parliament also approved the sum of N953.6 billion for debt service, N375.6 billion as statutory transfers and N21 billion for the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
Education took the lion share of the budget with N392.3 billion followed by N338.7 billion for the military and N303.8 billion budgeted for police commands and formations.
In the same vein, N237 billion was voted for the health sector, N153 billion for the Ministry of Interior, while the Ministry of Works was given a meagre N25.1 billion.
Briefing journalists after the budget’s passage, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Ahmed Maccido, said the federal government did not make provisions for fuel subsidies.
According to him, government should not have withdrawn subsidies from the proposal.
While presenting the budget for approval earlier, Maccido recalled that the federal government had initially laid a budget of N4.357 trillion before the National Assembly on December 17, 2014, before withdrawing it and consequently reviewing the figure to N4.425 trillion.