Reps to pass budget after presidential poll

The House of Representatives on Thursday adjourned till‎ March 31, skipping the passing of the 2015 budget till after the presidential poll.

Presidential and National Assembly elections are fixed for March 28.

There was anticipation that the estimated N4.3trillion budget would be passed on Thursday before the adjournment, but lawmakers adjourned without passing it.

The House merely adopted the harmonised report on the 2015-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework by its committee and that of Senate, shutting operations till March 31.

Both chambers of the National Assembly had also in conference, settled for $53 as the crude oil benchmark for the budget.

National-assembly-abuja-building-e1355850360376They had also agreed on N190 as the exchange rate to the US Dollar.

But, against all expectations, members adjourned for elections without passing the budget.

The Punch gathered that members were “playing safe” to know the outcome of the poll before passing the budget.

“We are holding back a bit.

“This is not the time to let go at once. Let’s watch how events unfold,” a senior member confided in The Punch.

But, Deputy House Spokesman, Mr. Victor Ogene, claimed that the House deferred the budget to give room for the appropriation committees of the Senate and the House to meet with the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on a little adjustment to the budget.

Ogene explained that the Senate earlier passed $52 as the benchmark, while the House passed $54.

He added that the harmonisation at conference resulted in the $53 that was eventually agreed as the oil benchmark.

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