National Assembly shut down as Buhari presents 2016 Budget

Ahead of today’s planned presentation of the 2016 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the National Assembly, all staff of the legislative complex and organizations running private businesses within the premises have been directed to stay away from the area.
National Assembly shut down as Buhari presents 2016 Budget
According to a circular issued to that effect yesterday from the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, ‘the stay away’ directive is to prevent any form of rowdy atmosphere during the budget presentation by the President.
The circular signed by the Director, Personnel Management, Mamud A. Abubakar, on behalf of the Clerk, however, exempted staffers of the National Assembly working in any of the two chambers and security personnel. It further warned that appropriate punishment would be meted out to any staff found flouting the order.
Business organizations affected by the stay away order include all operators of banks, eateries, airlines, insurance outfits, telecommunication centres and the National Open University Office ( NOUN).
The statement entitled: ‘Presentation of 2016 Budget to National Assembly by President Muhamnadu Buhari” reads, “The President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari , is presenting the 2016 Budget to the National Assembly on Tuesday , December 22, 2015.
“In view of the above, all staff of the National Assembly as well as the operators of business outfits in the National Assembly Complex, with exception of those on essential duties, e.g, Chamber, Security and Medical Staff, are directed to stay away from the NASS Complex on 22nd December, 2015.
“Any staff found to have violated this instruction will face appropriate disciplinary action”
Meanwhile, security operatives have taken over the premises of the National Assembly as at yesterday evening just as last minutes preparations for the event were seen being carried out by staffers of the National Assembly, like laying of the red carpet from the main entrance into the White House to the House of Representatives Chamber where the joint session would hold for the presentation.
President Buhari had, in a Medium Term Expenditure Framework ( MTEF) forwarded to the National Assembly and approved by both chambers last week, disclosed that the total expenditure framework of the budget to be presented today would be N6.07trillion as against N5.03trillion in the outgoing year.
The N6trillion budget estimates as stated in the MTEF document, which is the highest in the history of the country’s fiscal plans, is predicated on $38 per barrel oil price benchmark; N197 exchange rate and 2.2million oil production per day.
It was N4.07 trillion in 2010; N4.22 trillion in 2011; N4.74 trillion in 2012; N4.92 trillion in 2013; N4.6 trillion in 2014 and N5.06 trillion in the current year including the N574.5 billion recently approved supplementary budget.
Ironically, $38 per barrel oil price benchmark is the lowest in recent times. In 2011, it was $62 per barrel; $67 in 2012; $79 in 2013; $76 in 2014 and $53 per barrel in the current year.
As a way of implementing one of its key programmes in the 2016 fiscal year, President Buhari has set aside N500 billion in the projected N6.07 trillion 2016 budget for social welfare packages for the vulnerable in the society.
This was even as the entire budget profile is based on deficit of N2.22trillion on account of N3.82trillion projected as total revenues that can be raised by Federal Government in the fiscal year.
Buhari, in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), explained that Federal Government would collaborate with state governments in the implementation of the N500 billion worth social welfare packages to the vulnerable.
According to him, “The Federal Government will collaborate with state governments to institute well structured social welfare intervention programmes such as, school feeding programme initiatives, conditional cash transfer to the most vulnerable, and post NYSC GRANTS.”
He added that these interventions will start as a pilot scheme and work towards securing the support of donor agencies and development partners in order to minimize potential risks.
He, however, stressed that a phased social welfare programme will be created to cater for a larger population of the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians upon the evidence of children’s enrolment in school and evidence of immunization.
On the planned rationalization of Ministries, Departments and Agencies ( MDAs) of the Federal Government, the president stated that government would adopt a three- pronged approach in the management of public financial resources by improving on revenue generation , collection, and quality spending in a manner that would enhance transparency, accountability and results in service delivery.
“Government will, in the near to medium-term, continue to prune the size of the Federal Government and its MDAs to more efficient level without compromising efficiency and effectiveness.
“Over the medium term, however, government will revisit the need to rationalize the agencies of government and strategically implement relevant provisions.”
The President also stated in the document that implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA), would be fully complemented with full implementation of the Integrated PayRoll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in all MDAs which would result in additional savings.
The proposed budget, according to the President, which aims at curtailing the Federal Government expenditure profile, will cut down on the mounting number of claims for increases in salaries and allowances including pensions and other benefits.
Other critical projections of the budget as stated in the MTEF document are: N150 billion for fuel subsidy, N115 billion for the National Assembly as against N120 billion earlier projected, N29 billion for Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta and N45billion for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Others are N77.11 billion for Universal Basic Education (UBE) and N1.20billion for Public Complaints Commission (PCC) and human rights.
The budget, according to the document, would have an upward review of percentage of capital expenditure from 16% from last year to 30% next year.
It added that its strategic priorities focus on human and infrastructure development with emphasis on agriculture, education, health, road maintenance, security, water supply and defence.
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