Senate yesterday approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, METEF submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari at a benchmark of $38 per a barrel and N197 exchange rate per dollar even as crude oil price dipped further to $34 per barrel.
However, federal agencies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigerian Customs Service, the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Debt Management Office, have pledged to generate sufficient funds to cushion the anticipated effect of that difference to bail out the dwindling national economy in 2016.
The government agencies made the pledge during a public hearing on Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, hosted by the Senate Joint Committees on Finance, Appropriation and National Planning.
The Senate had earlier approved the MTEF submitted a week ago by President Muhammadu Buhari, indicating that the government had proposed a budget of N6.04trillion on revenues of N3.82trillion.
The Chairman, FIRS, Babatunde Fowler while presenting the proposed revenue to be generated from taxation said FIRS has the capacity to rake in the sum of N2 trillion in 2016 from the value added tax alone.
He told the Senate that, while plucking loopholes in the Nigerian tax system to prevent unnecessary leakages, FIRS has started working towards capturing not less than 5000 corporate accounts in its tax profile for increased tax collection in the next few years.
He said, already, the FIRS had identified more than 800 corporate accounts that were hitherto not paying tax in Nigeria, stressing that the government agency would ensure that not less than 500 of such accounts are mobilized to be regular tax payers.
He said FIRS has resolved to widen its tax space with preparedness to increase tax compliance level in Nigeria by 90 percent, the first of its kind in Nigeria.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun also told the Senate that the 2016 budget will focus more on capital projects to catalyse the growth of the economy.
She said part of the efforts by the government is to ensure that all revenue generating agencies would be made to generate surplus, while none of them would be allowed to spend more than what the government will approve for them in 2016.
The minister said although the Federal Government is expected to borrow to finance the 2016 budget, no part of the amount to be borrowed would be spent on recurrent, but essentially capital
She said the Ministry of Finance has raised a team of Accountants to audit the pay roll of the government as part of measures aimed towards preventing leakages in government spending.
She said with expected fiscal discipline on the part of the government, the MTEF is achievable, just as she insisted that the government will initiate tough measures to bring back the economy into life in 2016.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele told the Senate Committees that the Bank will always work with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning to ensure that the 2016 budget proposal works as projected.
While the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu assured the Senate that oil production in the coming year will reach 2.2 million barrels perday, the figure of projection will rise to 2.4 million barrels per day in the following year.
The Minister of National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, while briefing the Senate said the government will focus attention on diversification of the economy, with growth of industrialization as part of its agenda for improving the national economy.
He said while government will not dabble directly into the task of setting up industries, it will rather create enabling environment for industrialization, while creating opportunities for industrialists to set up in Nigeria.
Udoma added that the MTEF was prepared in such a manner to combat the economic challenges ahead stressing, “challenging times needs firm and robust response. This is what the MTEF represents”
“It was also designed to create better governance; to turn things around and promote economic prosperity for the people”.
On sources of funding for the N6 trillion 2016 budget, the Budget and National Planning Minister said that priority will be given to Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), saying “We will also look at the accounts of agencies and sweep those surpluses that might not be on essential things that we want to focus on”
He, however, told the law makers in very clear terms that not less than N1.8 trillion would be borrowed by the federal government to finance the budget.
He said “ultimately we must borrow N1.8 trillion to fund this budget apart from all those adjustments we are trying to make.”

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