Senate to adopt $78 oil benchmark for 2015

The Senate is set to adopt the proposed $78 as the country’s
oil price benchmark for 2015 fiscal year.
The discosure was made on Tuesday at the joint meeting on
2015-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework organised
by Senate Joint Committees in Abuja.

The Committees are Finance, National Planning, Economic
Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. Ahmed
Makarfi, who presided said the process would be concluded
before a final decision was taken.

According to him, the various committees do not have any
major objections on the proposed figure.

The Federal Government in the 2015-2017 Medium Term
Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper proposed
the figure for 2015.

The document had reminded the Committees members on
the need to take cognisance of the global supply-demand
balance that was edging out the recent spikes in oil price.

According to the paper, there is increasing supply arising
from exploitation of sale oil and gas and Iranian sanctions
suspension leading to global surplus crude oil production
capacity.

It said the import of the development was an indicator that
the high oil price recorded in recent past would not be long-lived.

“Against this backdrop and need to rebuild our fiscal buffers,
we approached the estimation of our benchmark price with
caution,” the document said.

On revenue collection, Makarfi said the committees were
delighted with the effort been made by both the Federal
Inland Revenue Service and the Nigerian Customs Service so
far.

He, however, said the two most important organs of revenue
collection must increase their targets with a view to attract
more funds to the federation account.

“It is not enough to set an achievement target, we are of the opinion that the agencies could bring more than they are
remitting now,” Ahmed said.

The NCS has already met its set target for 2014 by remitting
N713bn since September.

Sen. Joshua Dariye (PDP-Plateau), a member of one of the
Committees, said heads of strategic establishments should
make financial projections they could handle within their tenures.

He said strong measures must be taken to block leakages in revenue collections.

However, Dr Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, who led the team to the
hearing, said modalities were been put in place to
encourage transparency in the system.

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