The Senate in plenary yesterday approved the harmonised version of the 2015-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
The level is well below the finance ministry’s proposal of $65 per barrel at the end of last year, due to the continued slump in global crude prices, which has hit Africa’s biggest oil producer hard.
The upper legislative chamber approved the report after the Chairman of its Committee on Finance, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, presented the harmonised version by the Senate and House of Representatives of the MTEF/FSP.
Makarfi said the Conference Committee adopted N190 exchange rate, $53 per barrel oil benchmark as well as a statutory transfer of $368bn.
He said, “On the exchange rate, the Conference Committee adopted the Senate’s version, which has N190 as the exchange rate to the dollar. On the oil price benchmark, whereas the Senate passed it on $52 per barrel, the House passed it on $54 per barrel.
“The Conference Committee agreed to recommend a benchmark of $53 per barrel. On statutory transfer, the committee adopted the House version, which reduced the statutory transfer from $411.85bn to $368bn.”
The committee also adopted the House of Representatives’ version of the National Assembly budget of N120bn.
The Federal Ministry of Finance had allocated N115bn for the federal legislature, but the lawmakers added N5bn to it.
Senate President, David Mark, faulted the committee for adopting a benchmark different from the ones recommended by the Senate and House of Representatives.
Senate sources reveals that the budget was expected to be passed next week before parliament takes a break for elections.