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Jonathan Avoids N/Assembly, Mandates Okonjo-Iweala To Present 2015 Budget Proposal

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan will not be presenting the 2015 budget proposal to the joint session of the national assembly personally, instead he has sent the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mrs Ngozi Okonj-Iweala to do the presentation on his behalf.

Minister of Finance Dr Okonjo Iweala

Minister of Finance Dr Okonjo Iweala

African Examiner gathered that inability of the president to present the budget personally is to avoid confrontation with many of the Lawmakers who have been having political conflicts with him following various PDP disputed primaries and Aminu Tambuwal’s defection from the ruling party to the opposition party without resigning his position as speaker.

According to a separate letter to the Senate and the House of Representatives by President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala has been mandated to stand in for the president.

On the budget, the president explained that the uncertainty surrounding the global price of crude oil and its continuous fall has occasioned delays in the submission of the budget estimates to the National Assembly.

Jonathan cautioned that should the price of oil continue to fall in the global market, there may be need to request for further review of both MTEF and the budget.

The letter reads:

“In consonance with the provision of Section 81 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, I write to request that the Honourable House grant the Honourable Minister of

Finance the slot of 11. 00 am on Wednesday, 17th December, 2014 to enable her lay before you the 2015 Budget Estimates.

“I am cognisant of the fact that the Budget Estimates are being presented before the passage of the 2015-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). This is due to the extra-ordinary global circumstances that confronted us in the latter quarter of the 2014 fiscal year.

“As you know, the first MTEF with a budget benchmark of $78 a barrel was submitted to the National Assembly on 30th September, 2014 and discussion on the MTEF and budget construction based on those estimates began with the relevant committees of the National Assembly.

“However, shortly after that first submission, oil prices began to fall precipitously leading to a revision of the oil benchmark price in the MTEF to $73 per barrel, which was resubmitted to the National Assembly on 18th November, 2014.

“Following this, the decision of OPEC at their meeting in Vienna on 27th November, 2014 not to cut production to support the price led to further precipitous fall in the oil price to below $70 per barrel.

“This led, one more time to another downward revision of the benchmark price to $65 per barrel and a revised MTEF which we again submitted to you on 2nd December, 2014, The uncertainty surrounding the global price of crude oil and its continuous fall has

occasioned delays in both the submission of a final MTEF and budget estimates, and we thus request your kind consideration of both of these items together in view of our national budget calendar.

“We would like to confirm that having submitted these budget estimates, we are not proposing further revision of the ~oii benchmark price.

“Though prices continue to be extremely volatile at present and to trend further downwards, there are indications, based on the price intelligence we have at this time, that prices may range between US$65 – US$70 a barrel in 2015, Nevertheless, we would like to emphasize that there is no iron clad guarantee where oil prices are concerned due to numerous underlying global geo-political factors that are outside our control and unpredictable.

“Should prices fall below the range, the country would have to make further adjustments.

“We hope that despite these circumstances, the Honourable Members will give kind and due consideration to the budget estimates in sufficient time for us to implement in 2015”.


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