Reps Reject N305/dollar Exchange Rate For Budget

House of Representatives yesterday rejected the Federal Government’s
exchange rate of N305/dollar in this year’s budget, saying it would
engender huge corruption, with the almost N500/dollar at the parallel

Members of the Green Chamber also queried the Executive
on the domestic borrowing plan of the President Muhammadu Buhari
administration, saying it will stifle funds that could have been made
available to the real sector and small businesses to grow the economy
and move the country out of recession.

Of the N2.321 trillion borrowing plan projected in the budget, N1.253 trillion is to be sourced from the domestic market.

lawmakers, who spoke during an interactive session with members of the
Executive with the committees on Finance, Appropriation, Aid Loans &
Debt Management, Legislative Budget and Research and National Planning
& Economic Development on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework
(MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) also said the government was not
doing much to reign in inflation which presently stands at 18.55

Members in the various committees at the meeting also
accused the Federal Government of insufficient consultation with
stakeholders, especially the National Assembly while developing the
MTEF, adding that the parameters in the budget are different from that
in the MTEF initially submitted to the National Assembly
But the
Minster of Budget & National Planning , Senator Udo Udoma, said the
government has a multi-facetted plan to move the country out of

On inflation, he said: “ It is our objective to move
towards a very low inflation environment because we need to move to a
low inflation environment so as to have sustained and sustainable

“We believe that, as the Central Bank had said, many of
the things that were feeding into the inflation in 2016 is that once we
can stabilise the exchange rate and other aspects of the economy, we
will reduce the rate of inflation .

“But we need to do a lot more
than that. We need to reduce the cost of doing business and we have a
number of plans to achieve that. We need to get Nigerians back to work.
We need to get single interest loans, particularly in the key areas,
such as agriculture and all that, to get people back to work. Already
the Central Bank is working on that.”

Udoma said the government was doing a lot, which it believes will restructure the economy.

to him, the difficult and challenging phase the country is passing
through is seen on the part of the executive as an opportunity “to
change things in a fundamental way”.

Finance Minister Kemi
Adeosun said the government had put a lot of measures in place to
stimulate the economy. She said people should be careful about putting
their faith in the black market as it drives inflation.

“There is
a number of structural initiative to close the gap. We have to look at
why are people buying dollars at such high amounts. It’s driven by
irrational and emotional factors.”

Adeosun said the Fundamentals
show that the naira should be strengthening presently. “The black market
will collapse because it’s not being driven by any fundamentals,” she

On Treasury Single Account (TSA), the minister said it was
counter productive to put the government’s money in commercial banks
only for them to loan it back to the government at higher rates.

Adeosun said the government was spending more on infrastructure. “We’re
targeted on spending on what will bring us out of the recession,” she

At the session were the Ministry of Finance, Budget and
National Planning, Mines and Solid Minerals Development, Office of the
Accountant General of the Federation, the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Customs Service.

Others were Federal
Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Debt Management Office, Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).


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