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2015 Budget Targets Diversification As Senate Vows To Pass Budget In 2 Days After Resumption

Nigeria's Minister of Finance  Dr Okonjo Iweala

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja.

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala has said that the N4.357 trillion 2015 Budget Estimates presented to both the Senate and the House of Representatives, is anchored on diversification of the economy.

Iweala who stated this at an interview session with journalists after laying the budget, said this will be achieved by the federal government by shifting focus from the oil sector to aggressive revenue generation through taxes.

“The 2015 budget seeks to protect the average Nigerian because it was packaged to focus on the diversification of the economy”, she explained.

She said that the strategy would work because food prices had not risen in spite of the depreciation of the naira.

“If you check all around the markets, you will observe that the average Nigerian is still enjoying stable food prices. In some places like Enugu, the prices of garri have even fallen.

“Inflation rate as estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics has fallen from 8.1 to 7.9 percent. This budget really focuses on moving us to diversify economy and raise non oil revenue. “We have made up for the fall of $13 per barrel, by raising non oil revenue through various types of taxes and policies. The surcharge on luxury goods is there, plus additional tax efforts to close leakages in revenue”, she added.

She stated further that the benchmark price for oil was fixed at $65 while the production figure was pegged at 2.27m barrel per day.

“We have estimated a GDP growth based on the circumstances of the country, which will be about 5.5 percent this is down from the 6.35 percent we had earlier from the National Bureau of Statistics which is still one of the best growth rate in the World.”

Meanwhile, the Senate President, David Mark, has pledged that the upper chamber would consider the appropriation bill within two days on resumption but urged the various committees to work on the document even while on vacation.

Also, Senators Phillip Aduda and Joshua Dariye, have assured members of the public that the various committees would expedite action on the passage of the 2015 budget despite the political activities in their various constituencies. Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma – Egba, while moving the motion for the adjournment till January 13, 2015 said the idea was to enable senators participate effectively in the political activities ahead of next year general election.


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