Nigerian Senators Divided Over Oil Benchmark For 2016 Budget

Members of the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday commenced debate on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) presented to the upper legislative body by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Buhari had forwarded the MTEF to the Senate on Monday.

Under Nigerian public finance system, the MTEF is the precursor to budget, as well as Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), which details spending and revenue projections for three years.

At the Senate plenary Wednesday, lawmakers differed on the $38 per barrel benchmark projected as the price of crude of oil, the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.

Leading the debate, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, asked the Senate to consider an upward review of the crude oil benchmark for the 2016 budget.

?In his opinion the $38 oil benchmark is “conservative”.

Mr. Ekweremadu therefore urged the senate to peg the oil benchmark for the 2016 budget at $40 per barrel.

“I have looked at the projection for the oil price,” he began, adding that “the benchmark of $38 per barrel appears to me to be conservative. From the projection of oil price for 2016 it is estimated? that it will hover between $40 and $45.

“I like to suggest that the senate consider an oil benchmark of $40. I’m sure that this will help cushion the problems we have in the states.”
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Credit: PremiumTimes

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