Nigeria’s Senate President thinks the 2016 budget is rather ambitious

According to media reports, the Nigerian Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has described the 2016 budget as ambitious. He made this known while answering questions from Senate correspondents after commissioning the newly upgraded and refurbished Senate Press Centre at the National Assembly, Abuja.

“I believe they are ambitious but it is a good sign because it begins to make us less dependent on oil…” said Bukola Saraki, Senate President of Nigeria.

Bukola Saraki’s take on Nigeria’s 2016 budget

According a report by an online news platform, The Cable, the Senate President was asked if the 2016 budget is implementable in view of the dwindling price of crude oil in the international market and this is what he had to say on the following topics:

The Budget of the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs)

“I think this is one of the reasons why we are having the MDAs defend their proposals before the committees, to be able to test some of the scenarios and some of the assumptions, particularly on the revenue side.

Funding 

“If you look at the revenue, out of about N3.8trillion, N3trillion is coming from non-oil and independent revenue.

“The success of the budget, in my own view, is less on the benchmark. It is more on those two items, non-oil revenue and independent revenue and that is why we directed our Committee on Finance and other relevant committees to really scrutinise the revenue side.

“Even the Senate leadership intends to also engage with the ministries, as well, to really check those two lines, because that is really where the questions come on whether it is achievable. Before we put our signature to it, we need to be sure that those funds are there.

The figures in the budget

“I believe they are ambitious but it is a good sign because it begins to make us less dependent on oil…”

“… because if N830billion is coming from oil revenue and it is only 23 percent, even if the price of oil goes down or up, we are not as vulnerable than the time when oil revenue was accounting for 70 of our revenue.”

Achieving and implementing the budget

“But also talking about being achievable or implementable, already, some of the things we are going to look at and which we are going to advise the Executive on is that while we are working on the budget now, they too should also start making a plan on how to implement the budget because what tends to happen is that even after we have passed a budget, the administration or its bureaucracy sometimes makes the budget difficult to be realisable.”

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