The House of Representatives passes the 2015 budget on Thursday with the removal of oil subsidy, including reduction in allocation to Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme as well the National Assembly
| By Anayo Ezugwu | May 4, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
AT LAST, the House of Representatives on Thursday, passed the long awaited 2015 budget with some booby traps that may work against the incoming administration. First, the lower chamber approved N4.493 trillion as 2015 budget with an increase of N135.4 billion from the N4,357,960 trillion proposed by the federal government in November 2014. Second, the House did not make any provision for fuel subsidy and reduced budgets for the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, to N21 billion.
The House, however, slashed its own budget by N30 billion by reducing the allocation from N150 billion to N120 billion, while it pegged the oil benchmark at $53. It adopted N190 to United States dollar as exchange rate; N1,075.303 trillion as fiscal deficit and 1.12 percent as deficit on GDP respectively.
It the approved budget, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, allocation was earmarked as N46.720 billion; Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, N68.380 billion; National Assembly, N120 billion; Public Complaints Commission, N4 billion, and National Human Rights Commission, N1.516 billion.
The House retained the sums of N73 billion for the National Judicial Council, NJC, and N62 billion for Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. A breakdown of the final amount passed showed that N375.616 billion would be for statutory transfer, N953.620 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 would get the highest allocation of N392,242,784,654, followed by armed forces including Army, Air Force and Navy with N338,797,219,431 and Police Formations and Commands with N303,822,224,611. Health got N237,075,742,847; Interior ministry, 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 has been slated 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 communication technology would receive N10,592,048,381.
From the N13,965,664,092 approved for the eight federal executive bodies, the sum of N5,293,800,054 was earmarked for the National Population Commission, NPC; N1,935,767,344 for Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB; N493,656,088 for Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT; 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 was approved 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 House earmarked 60,251,158,887 for payment into the Redemption Fund (15 percent of total personnel cost); N18 billion for arrears of 33 percent 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 would gulp N23.625 billion; N5,502,447,783 would go 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 has been 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. From the total sum of N953.62 billion approved for debt servicing, the sum of N894.610 billion would go for Domestic debts while N59.010 would go for Foreign debts.
Reacting to the non-provision of funds for fuel subsidy in the budget, Opeyemi Bamidele, chairman, House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, said the absence of a provision for fuel subsidy in the 2015 Appropriation Act was a booby trap for the incoming administration. Bamidele, in a statement on Thursday, said General Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, should understand the full implications of this and take immediate steps to let Nigerians know where they stand on the matter.
“The truth and reality of the situation is that the outgoing PDP administration has, through the 2015 budget, removed oil subsidy and it must be made to accept responsibility for it rather than for the incoming APC administration to bask in the euphoria of having won an election without realising the booby trap into which they and the Nigerian people are walking into,” he said, adding that if the outgoing PDP administration removed oil subsidy, it must be made to accept responsibility for it rather than for the incoming APC administration to suffer.