Okays $350m external loan for Kaduna
House of Representatives yesterday committed the 2018 Appropriation Bill to its Committee on Appropriation for further legislative works and approved $47 oil benchmark for the 2018 budget, as it approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP.
Though majority of the lawmakers shunned debate on the budget on the fourth allowed day for consideration, it however committed the budget to the next legislative stage after scaling second reading.
By this action, the committees, through the supervision of the Appropriation Committee, will now engage the various ministries, departments and agencies of government in budget defence after an oversight slated in few weeks.
In considering the MTEF/FSP, the lawmakers approved 2.3mbpd while it jerked the oil benchmarked to $47 from the $45 earmarked by the executive.
They adopted $47, according to them, in consideration of the current positive outlook in the global oil market and expectation that OPEC and other allied oil partnership countries will sustain oil production cuts deep into 2018.
N305/ US Dollar stands as the exchange rate for the 2018 fiscal year, the lawmakers agreed, while they called on the CBN to adopt measures to close the gap between the parallel market and the official exchange rate.
Accordingly, it adopted the projected N5.279trillion for non-oil revenue and charged revenue generating agencies to up their ante and reduce loss.
N1.669 trillion borrowing proposed in the 2018 budget was agreed to but warned that borrowing by government must be tied to projects.
“In borrowing more, government must remain focused and ensure it uses the funds for critical projects that will not only increase productivity but also contribute to financing such debts,” the lawmakers cautioned.
It, however, resolved to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act and other extant laws while the 3.5percent growth rate be adopted, especially with the latest figures indicating a doubling of growth rate to 2.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the House approved the $350 million loan requested by the government of Kaduna State, in line with the 2016/ 2017 external borrowing plan.