The Federal Government has assured that the adjustments made to the 2018-2020 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper which raised the projected expenditure figures by about N1.5 trillion would not in any way distort the 2018 Appropriation Bill passage as the adjustments had been captured in the latter before its presentation to the legislature by the President.
Making the clarification on Monday before the before the Joint Committees on Finance, Appropriation, Aid/Loans/Debt Management of the House of Representatives, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed that about N1.5 trillion adjustments were made to the MTEF, mainly on the revenue projections for the 2018 budget.
The minister explained that the Executive action on the document would not in any way impede the deliberations of the Appropriation Bill 2018 as the President had, before the presentation of the Bill, captured the adjusted figures in the MTEF-FSP in the Bill.
Expatiating on the 3-year fiscal document’s adjustments, Ahmed disclosed that additional N710 billion was added to the MTEF from oil operations while Production Sharing Contracts and exercise duties on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages were targeted to generate additional N320 billion and N60 billion respectively.
The minister, who told the committee that improvement in revenues by the Federal Inland Revenue Service was projected to boost revenue by another N100 billion just as import duty expected from luxury cars and goods imported into the country would add about N2 billion to government coffers, said further that about N250 billion of unspent funds from the 2017 budget had also been factored into the revised MTEF.
In addition, Ahmed told the lawmakers that the adjustments also indicated that the N2.005 trillion estimated deficit in the 2018 budget would be reduced by N940 billion.
“The total deficit is still within the allowable threshold. The deficit will be financed by both domestic and external borrowing,” the minister assured.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had laid the Appropriation Bill totaling N8.61 trillion before the National Assembly on November 7 based on the revised MTEF. The total projected revenue in the Bill is N6.6 trillion, representing about 30 percent increase over the previous year’s revenue projection.