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N’Assembly Will Get 2018 Budget In October, FG Insists

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, on Thursday promised that the Federal Government would do everything in its power to ensure that the 2018 Appropriation Bill is submitted to the National Assembly in October as earlier promised.

Udoma said this in an interview with State House correspondents during a retreat on the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and the 2018 budget preparation process, held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The retreat’s theme was given as “Building synergy for effective ERPG implementation.”

To achieve this target, Udoma said the government would soon send the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework Fiscal Strategy Paper, which was approved by FEC on Wednesday, to the federal lawmakers, who were on vacation.

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He said the document would be sent to the lawmakers close to their resumption.

He added that the government would stick to its commitment on the 2018 budget.

The minister said, “The National Assembly is on break; so nearer the time they will resume in September, they will get the MTEF.

“Ours is to follow the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which has some timelines and we are trying to keep strictly to those timelines.

“So, the budget will get to the National Assembly by October. That was our commitment. We will go all out to make that happen. We made a commitment that we would do that on our part and we intend to deliver on that commitment. This is a government that delivers on its promises.”

Speaking on the essence of the retreat, Udoma said, “It was basically about the ERGP, preparations for the 2018 budget and linking the plan with the budget. We will be briefing cabinet members about the linkages between the plan and the budget.

“Basically, we have to keep on reviewing at every stage. So, this is a review about where we are, what needs to be done and what steps we need to take in areas that we need to fast-track.

“We need to review what we are doing at the stage of implementation. So, this was the purpose of the meeting.”

On where the nation was after the review he said, “We are moving ahead in terms of the modalities that have been defined. This is not the time to actually say what stage and so on.”

FEC on Wednesday approved the MTEF, with a target to achieve seven per cent growth rate by 2020.

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Udoma had said in order to achieve the seven per cent growth rate by 2020, the Federal Government would target 3.5 per cent growth rate in 2018; 4.5 per cent in 2019; and seven per cent in 2020.

He said the exchange rate remained N305 as indicated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

On the crude oil target, the minister said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had assured that the country had the capacity for more than 2.3 million barrels per day.

PUNCH.

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