Senate forwards 2013 budget to committee for recommendation

Senate forwards 2013 budget to committee for recommendation

Ahead of the presentation of the 2013 budget by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Senate on Tuesday has referred the 2013 – 2015 Medium – Term Fiscal Framework and Fiscal Strategy Policy to its committee for consideration and recommendation.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives had hinged its refusal to receive the 2013 budget from President Goodluck Jonathan on the excuse that it had not considered and approved the framework.

President Jonathan had written to the National Assembly requesting to present the budget tomorrow, but the House of Representatives differed on the date and announced it was proceeding on a 10-day monitoring of projects to determine level of implementation.

At senate plenary on Tuesday, the Senate resolved to refer the framework to its joint committees of Finance and National Planning and the joint committee to report next week Tuesday.

In the assumptions underlying projections of oil and non-oil revenue in 2013 in the framework, government said in 2012, “budgeted crude oil production was 2.48 mbd” but there had been a pronounced shift towards deep offshore through the Production Sharing Contract arrangement which is less profitable to government.

Government in the framework said “also, there is evidence that substantial losses were incurred arising from crude oil theft estimated at between 150,000 mbd and 180,000mbd.

“Government has however initiated measures to plug these leakages by at least 100,000bpd by 2013. Given the above, government has pegged average oil production at 2.53mbpd, 2.61mbpd and 2.65mbpd for the 2013-2015”.

On fiscal strategy for 2013-2015, government stated that in line with the transformation agenda of the government “key sectors of the economy will remain the focus of this administration.

“These include security, Power, agriculture, water resources, health, education, works, transport, aviation, federal capital territory, and niger delta.

“By investing in these sectors, government intends to reduce the infrastructural gap, thereby, energising the economy so as to create employment and ensure that we have inclusive growth”.

On subsidy, government noted “in the light of the huge amount paid on petroleum subsidy in 2011, the federal government has initiated steps to streamline the management of the subsidy scheme including strengthening the audit and verification process in order to improve its governance, transparency and accountability.

“These are expected to yield full results in 2013, while the SURE-P instrument will continue to be used as an intervention window to mitigate the impact of the partial subsidy removal.

“As government continues consultations regarding future policy on subsidy, some amount is being provided for petroleum product subsidy in the 2013 budget”.