Preparations towards the 2015 Federal Budget began on Wednesday in Abuja with the approval of the draft Medium Term Fiscal Framework, MTFF, by the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, presented the document to the Council for deliberation.
The Director-General, Budget Office, Bright Okogu, said at the end of the meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, that the MTFF was adopted.
The documents contains revenue estimates and expenditure plans of the Federal Government spanning the period 2015 and 2017.
Mr. Okogu said the consideration and approval of the MTFF by FEC was geared towards the early preparation of the 2015 budget, adding that in line with the president’s economic vision, the 2015-2017 framework focused on job creation and inclusive economic growth.
The draft MTEF, he said, was a product of consultations between the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly as well as other stakeholders in the budget process to forestall any misunderstanding between the two arms of government that usually delays the approval of the annual budget.
According to Mr. Okogu, the MTFF, prepared against the backdrop of global economic situations, was aimed at determining the country’s prospects in terms of goods and services produced, with particular focus on non-oil sectors of the economy, especially agriculture, as best suited to generate growth and employment.
The theme for the 2015-2017 fiscal framework remains job creation, inclusive growth and how government can extend the prosperity embedded in this growth to as many Nigerians as possible.
He said in approving the fiscal framework, government looked at the economic development in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, countries and other western countries that purchase Nigeria’s crude oil and other non-oil products.
The action, he said, was necessary to enable government know how well they were doing to determine how easy it would be for them to import goods from Nigeria. He pointed out that the situation in the OECD countries was mixed.
While the U.S. economy was doing well and the recovery was clear, the economic recovery in the European Union was a little bit a case of stop and go.
“All these countries import a lot of our (Nigerian) own crude oil and a lot of non-oil products. We looked at all those in order to situate the Nigerian situation,” Mr. Okogu said.
He said that though Nigeria’s economic performance in 2014 was robust and encouraging, a lot still needed to be done to translate it into improvements in the living standard of the people.
The country’s economic performance, Mr. Okogu said, has continued to defy the estimates of most ratings agencies and investors that come to Nigeria to do business.
“As they look at this country and say in spite of insurgency and a little bit of Ebola, this country is still doing very well in terms of real GDP (gross domestic product) growth.