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Senate raises panel to liaise with MDAs on 2020 budget review

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The sharp fall in the oil benchmark used for the N10.594 trillion 2020 budget has forced the Senate to begin the move to review the document.

Accordingly, it yesterday constituted four committees to liaise with relevant ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to decide on the best strategy to adopt in achieving the goal.

The panels include those of Finance, National Planning, Appropriation, and Petroleum (Upstream).

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The resolution followed a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, over concerns on the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID – 19) that had negatively impacted on global oil prices.

Abdullahi urged the red chamber “to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

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“Our committees should be prepared so that whatever happens, we hope this crisis does not last for too long, but if it does, we have to be prepared,” he submitted.

Abdullahi implored the committees to come up with workable measures that are harmonious with those of the executive arm of government to stem the impact of the dipping oil price on the economy.

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan, thereafter, constituted the joint committee.

In his remarks, he said: “The issue of the current situation affecting the entire world, and the second we are suffering from today is the crash in the price of crude.

“We passed the Fiscal Strategy Paper, the MTEF and subsequently the budget on the benchmark price of $57 per barrel. Today, that price has crashed to $31 or thereabout, and we don’t know where this will stop and of course, the economy of our country depends rightly on the export of crude.”

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“Now, this is a real situation that is staring us in the face. As a parliament, we need to be proactive and be up-to-date with the situation so that we are also able to make a decision when it matters most.”

He went on: “Therefore, I will suggest here that in order for this Senate to be proactive and to protect whatever will be the situation for Nigeria to implement the budget in a way and manner that will positively affect the lives of our citizens, we form a joint committee.”

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