Abuja – Barring any last minute changes, President Muhammadu Buhari will today present the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF-FSP) to the National Assembly for passage.
The presentation is coming after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the N700 billion increase in the appropriations bill, raising the total figure from N10.002 trillion to N10.729 trillion on Monday at an extra-ordinary meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The changes in the appropriation bill were said to have been endorsed by FEC even as the council members lauded the National Assembly for the increment of the crude oil benchmark from $55 per barrel to $57 per barrel.
When the Senate took the decision, there were insinuations that the executive may reject the jerking up of the proposed budget size in the MTEF with over N700 billion.
Though the ministers did not disclose officially the outcome of the extraordinary meeting which lasted about five hours, it was reliably gathered that members of the cabinet commended the legislators for increasing the benchmark.
The source who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “FEC is happy with the National Assembly for increasing the benchmark to $57 per barrel. The additional $2 is to take care of recruitment in the security agencies and also attend to critical areas.
“This is a sign that the legislature and the executive will work together for the interest of Nigerians. It is a good development.”
The extraordinary FEC meeting was believed to have deliberated on the 2020 Appropriation Bill expected to be laid before the joint session of the National Assembly today.
Departmental heads of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, led by the Director General of Budget, Ben Akabueze, made submissions at the meeting.
The meeting started with the rendition of national anthem and Christian prayer led by the Minister of Health while the Muslim prayer was led by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
Recall that the extraordinary FEC meeting originally scheduled to hold on Saturday last week was shifted to Monday with no tangible reasons.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had maintained that the meeting was to put finishing touches to the 2020 annual budget.
Recall that the Senate had called for the increase of the oil benchmark from $55 per barrel to $65 per barrel so as to have some funds to be injected into the economy.