House of Reps passes 2015 Budget, fuel subsidy removed

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reps Following due consideration of the budget report laid on the floor on Wednesday by the chairman of the  House Committee on Appropriation, John Enoh, the House of Representatives on Thursday finally passed  the approved budget of N4.493 trillion, which represents an increase of N135.4 billion from the initial  amount of N4.358 proposed by the executives in November 2014.

Notable changes in the approved budget include a reduction in the allocation for the National Assembly by  N30 billion bringing their budget down to N120 billion from the previous N150 billion, as well as the slashing of the provision for the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme and the complete removal of budget allocation for the fuel subsidy according to the 2015 Appropriation act.

A breakdown of the final amount passed showed that N375.616 billion is for statutory transfer, N953.620 billion for debt service, N2,607,132,491,708 for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, and N556,995,465,449 for capital expenditure in statutory transfer inclusive of N144.420 billion for contribution to the development fund capital expenditure.

From the N2,007,775,136,033 approved for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, Education was allocated the highest sum of N392,242,784,654, followed by Defence/MOD/Army/Air Force/Navy with N338,797,219,431 and Police Formations and Commands with N303,822,224,611.

Health was allocated N237,075,742,847; Interior, N153,330,022,460; Youth Development, N69,423,427,479; National Security Adviser, N62,226,771,999; Petroleum Resources, N58,274,429,975; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, N48,389,942,264; Foreign Affairs, N41,649,382,166, Agriculture and Rural Development, N31,869,020,717.

The sum of N26,590,103,366 is for Science and Technology; N25,173,916,543 for Works; N23,682,420,241 for Information; N20,085,865,120 for the Presidency; N18,081,478,935 for Tourism, Culture and National Orientation; N15,559,334,341 for Environment; N10,941,859,480 for Trade and Investment while N10,592,048,381 is for Communication Technology.

From the N13,965,664,092 approved for the eight federal executive bodies, the sum of N5,293,800,054 is for National Population Commission; N1,935,767,344 for Code of Conduct Bureau; N493,656,088 for Code of Conduct Tribunal; N2,207,213,456 for Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission; N1,125,005,114 for Federal Civil Service Commission; N740,477,185 for Police Service Commission and N2,167,931,068 for Federal Character Commission.

From the sum of N231,058,494,343 approved for Service Wide Votes, the sum of N20.270 billion is for Zaman Lafiya; N22 billion for operations – Internal – for the Armed Forces; N9.6 billion for payment to Nigerian Army Quick Response Group, including arrears; N5 billion for payment of outsourced services; N2.3 billion for entitlements of former presidents/heads of state and vice presidents/chiefs of general staff; N5.5 billion for Employees’ Compensation Act – Employees Compensation Fund; N17.5 billion for general election logistic support; N17,397,993,277 for contingency; N6 billion for country’s contribution to West African Examination Council (WAEC); N4.5 billion for assessed contribution to African Union and others; N5 billion for margin for increases in costs; N11 billion for external financial obligations; N3,099,600,000 for recurrent adjustment; N38,987,017,746 for public service wage adjustment for MDAs (including arrears of promotion and salary increases) while N11.755 billion is for improved remuneration package for Nigerian Police.

The sum of 60,251,158,887 is for payment into the redemption fund (15% of total personnel cost); N18 billion for arrears of 33% increase in pension rates; N3.750 billion for arrears of police death benefits (2004-2010); N14,690,036,516 for Group Life Insurance for all MDAs, including DSS; N1 billion for Armed Forces enhanced retirement benefits of Commodores and above; N2.995 billion for severance benefits of Delta Steel Company/pension pay-off; N3,544,110,811 for NHIS (military retirees), and N36 million for administration and monitoring of (OHCSF) Group Life.

From the total sum of N63,281,093,786 earmarked for presidential amnesty programme, the stipends and allowances of 30,000 Niger Delta ex-militants is to gulp N23.625 billion; N5,502,447,783 is for presidential amnesty operational cost; N34,153,646,003 for reintegration of transformed ex-militants while reinsertion/transition safety allowances for 3,642 ex-militants (phase 3) got zero allocation.

According to the report, the sum of N498,428,999,699 was set aside for capital expenditure of various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in addition to the sum of N144.420 billion as capital expenditure in statutory transfers.

The House also adopted $53 as oil benchmark, 2.2782mbpd, N190/US dollar as exchange rate, N1,075.303 trillion as fiscal deficit and 1.12 percent as deficit/GDP respectively.

According to the approved 2015 budget details, Niger Delta Development Commission’s allocation was earmarked as N46.720 billion, Universal Basic Education, N68.380 billion; National Assembly, N120 billion; Public Complaints Commission, N4 billion, and National Human Rights Commission ,N1.516 billion.

Meanwhile, the House retained the sums of N73 billion for the National Judicial Council, NJC and N62 billion for Independent National Electoral Commission , INEC.

From the total sum of N953.62 billion approved for debt servicing, the sum of N894.610 billion is for domestic debt while N59.010 is for foreign debts.

Mixed reactions have trailed the conspicuous removal of the controversial fuel subsidy, with the chairman, House Committee on Legislative Budget & Research, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, describing it as a ‘booby trap’ for the incoming administration, whereas, other reactions have been that the Reps were merely playing to the script of President- elect Buhari who had indicated in not so subtle term, his intention to scrap the fuel subsidy upon resumption of office.

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