ActionAid recommends $79 oil benchmark for 2014 Budget

Oil prices28v November 2013, Abuja – ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has recommended that the $79 per barrel benchmark oil price used in the preparation of the 2013 budget be retained in the 2014 budget, saying it would increase revenue and reduce the budget deficit.

Recall that the federal government targeted a budget deficit of N1.037 trillion or 2.17 per cent of GDP in the 2013 budget.

However, the massive revenue shortfall but from the oil and non-oil sectors has resulted in increased borrowing by the government to fund the resultant increase in deficit.

The non-governmental organisation which released review of the 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper, also recommended the inclusion of projections for GDP growth rate, interest rate, inflation rate and unemployment rate for the 3-year planning period in subsequent MTEFs.

In the review document obtained by LEADERSHIP yesterday, Action Aid, while noting that the 2014-2016 MTEF was an improvement over previous ones, however said the omission of projections in the medium-term for key macroeconomic variables did not allow for a more robust review of the document.

The group also advised the federal government on the need to clearly show the link between the MTEF and the Vision 20:20:20 as well as the 1st implementation plan.

Other recommendations included that government should empower the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies in the oil producing areas to decisively tackle the problem of crude oil theft; that the MTEF should disaggregate total spending by MDAs; that the practice of preparing the Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) as a complement to the MTEF should be reintroduced to facilitate the costing of capital projects and that government should continue to increase the balance in its foreign reserves as a buffer against unexpected decline in crude prices or production volume.

The 2014-2016 MTEF projects total revenue for the country at N10.52 trillion, N11.13 trillion and N11.49 trillion in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.

– Leadership

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