The minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, will today present the 2015 national budget estimates to a separate sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate by 11am.
The presentation comes despite the non-approval of the 2015-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), which normally precedes the budget presentation.
This was the resolution of the House following a directive from President Goodluck Jonathan to the Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, requesting that Okonjo-Iweala be allowed to present the proposed 2015 Budget on his behalf today.
Earlier, before the commencement of plenary at about 12:25pm, Okonjo-Iweala had met behind closed doors with the leadership of the House yesterday at the National Assembly complex over the planned presentation of the 2015 Appropriation Bill. In a letter from the president dated December 12, 2014, addressed to Tambuwal with the subject “Re: 2015 Budget” citing Section 81 (1) of the 1999 Constitution to back his request, he asked that the House grant the minister the 11am slot today to enable her lay before it the budget even as oil benchmark for its consideration has been pegged to $65 per barrel by the executive.
“Following this, the decision of the OPEC at their meeting in Vienna on November 27, 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.
“We would like to confirm that having submitted these budget estimates, we are not proposing further revision of the oil benchmark price,” he said.
Also, according to another letter earlier written by the president to the speaker dated December 2, 2014, a revised MTEF has been forwarded to the House after previous reviews.