2015 budget passes second reading at the House of Reps

FILE PHOTO: Former Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala laying the budget before National Assembly Lawmakers

The 2015 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday was given a second reading at the House of Representatives.

The bill was laid before the House by President Goodluck Jonathan, through the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on December 17.

The N4.36 trillion budget, predicated on 65 dollars per barrel of crude oil benchmark, comprises N411.84 billion for statutory transfers, N943 billion for debt servicing and N2.61 trillion for recurrent expenditure.

It also has N387.11 billion as contribution to development fund for capital expenditure.

Leading the debate of the bill, Majority Leader of the House, Mulikat Akande-Adeola, explained why the lawmakers should favourably consider and pass the 2015 budget as presented.

According to her, the focus of the budget is continuous job creation through infrastructure development, particularly in the areas of power, roads, agriculture, youth empowerment in agriculture programme (YEAP), housing and construction, and creative industry.

“The budget is also designed to reduce costs in non-essential areas of expenditure, and as part of that, cost of governance is expected to reduce such that all trainings of civil servants will be done locally,’’ she said.

She added that it was also intended to stem corruption in the public service through adequately designed internal expenditure reduction mechanisms.

Ms. Akande-Adeola also said that the budget was expected to continue on the path of inclusive growth and would keep its deficit at a comfortable level, notwithstanding the global phenomenon in the fall of oil price.

After her submission, the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, announced the referral of the Bill to the Finance and Appropriation Committee for further action.


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