17 December 2015, Abuja – The Senate, yesterday, approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, 2016-18 submitted by the Federal Government, basing the financial estimates on oil revenue at benchmark of $38 per barrel and exchange rate at N197/ $1. MTEF and FSP are the three-year fiscal plan from where the annual budget is extracted.
But the international oil prices and the domestic currency market at the parallel segment have all moved against both benchmarks, yesterday.
While the global oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate and Brent Crude closed, yesterday, at $35.83 per barrel, down by 4.07 per cent and Brent Crude down by 3.25 per cent to $37.20 per barrel, the OPEC reference where Nigeria’s Bonny Light trades also closed lower at $32.6 per barrel, far below the Federal Government’s 2016 budget benchmark.
Similarly, while the official exchange rate has been retained by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, at N197/ $1, the Naira crashed to N270 per dollar at the parallel market, yesterday.
Market operators blamed the continued crash in Naira value at the parallel market on constrains in the supply of the foreign exchange resources coupled with speculations that official devaluation is becoming inevitable following steady decline in foreign reserves and dollar inflow from crude oil sales.
The speculations appeared further fuelled by CBN’s reduction of quantity of foreign exchange supply to Bureaux de Change, BDCs, yesterday to $10,000, down by over 66 per cent from $30,000 per week.
At the backdrop of these developments, President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the 2016 budget estimates to the National Assembly on Tuesday for further deliberations and final approval of the 2016 Appropriation Bill.