By Nuel Suji, Abuja.
President Goodluck Jonathan has sought the permission of the two chambers of the National Assembly to allow the 2015 budget to be presented on his behalf.
In a separate letter written to the Senate and House of Representatives Tuesday, Jonathan request the two chambers of the National Assembly to grant access to the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, to enable her laid the 2015 Appropriation Bill before the parliament.
The President cited Section 81 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution, which allows him or his representative to lay the budget before the parliament.
The occasion of annual budget presentation offers opportunity for Nigerian president to address a joint session of the National Assembly.
This is the second time in less than two years that Jonathan would request that the annual budget be laid before the federal lawmakers on his behalf, the first being budget 2013.
Meanwhile, the federal government has reduced the overall budget estimate for 2015 from N4.661 trillion to N4.357 trillion, leaving a slash of N304 in the current MTEF.
Significantly, the government slashed the 2015 capital expenditure proposal by N581 billion, in response to the downward slide of oil price at the international market.
A breakdown of the new Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) for the 2015 budget indicates that capital expenditures, which was initially N1.208 billion in the old MTEF submitted to National Assembly in September 20, is reduced to N627 billion in the recently reviewed MTEF, slashing N581 billion.
The 2015 budget estimates have been reduced further by N304 billion, even as the oil benchmark for the next year budget is pegged at $65 per barrel.
The new MTEF further shows that, SURE-P Capital expenditure for 2015 came down from N184 billion to N102 billion, while MDAs capital expenditure proposal came down from N872 billion to N380 billion, and Capital expenditure in statutory transfer came up from N150 billion to N144 billion in the reviewed MTEF.
The recurrent expenditures virtually remains the same figure of N2.622 trillion in both the old and reviewed MTEF, while the National Assembly budget of N150 billion also remains unchanged.
In the same vein, while the oil daily production remains 2.2782 barrels per day, the exchange rate in the new MTEF increased from N162 to N165, while oil benchmark came down from $73 to $65 per barrel.
The federal government also reduced subsidy payment on kerosene in 2015 from N193 billion in the old MTEF to N84 billion in the new proposed MTEF.