House Raises Special C’ttee to Discuss Oil Benchmark.

In its bid to iron out the details of the 2015 budget, the House of Representatives on Wednesday inaugurated a 16-man special committee headed by its Appropriation Committee Chairman, Hon. John Enoh (PDP, Cross Rivers), to meet the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, over the crashing OIL PRICE at the international market.

Members of the special committee are: Hon. Yinka Ajayi, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, Hon. Jerry Manwe, Hon. Linus Okorie, Hon. Ibrahim Babangida and Hon. Yakub Dogara Others are Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf, Hon. Nnenna Ukeje, Hon. Pat Asadu, Hon. Nicholas Ossain Hon. Babatunde Adajare, Hon. Sokonte Davis, Hon. Isa Gusau, Hon. Abubakar Momoh, Hon Dan Akpan and Hon. Abdulmumini Jibril. No time frame was given for the completion of the committee’s work. This is the second time that such an engagement is scheduled with the minister regarding the budget. The other time, when the budget scaled through second reading, both the appropriation and finance committees were directed by the House to meet the finance minister.No outcome was reported. Constituted after a private marathon meeting that lasted for about three hours, the current committee was saddled with the responsibility of thrashing out the grey areas about the budget by interacting with the finance minister as well as the budget office. According to the Speaker, Aminu Waizri Tambuwal, “During the closed-door session, we took time to discuss the 2015 budget, MTEF and all the parameters that are related to the budget. “We agreed that we should set up a special committee to meet with ministry of finance on the issues related to that.” Okonjo-Iweala had on December 17 presented a slashed estimate of N4.357 trillion from the earlier proposed N4.661 trillion in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), when OIL PRICE was pegged at $73 per barrel. A revised MTEF was however sent to the lawmakers a day before the presentation of the budget, which pegged the OIL PRICE at $65 per barrel. Presently, the international crude price stands a little above $ 60 per barrel, representing a difference of $5 in the pegged OIL PRICE as contained in the MTEF. The 2015 to 2017 MTEF was not passed by the lawmakers before they received the budget proposal against the traditional passage of the benchmark well before the presentation of annual budgets.

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