Man-in-a-hurry: President Jonathan bombards National Assembly with requests

by Stanley Azuakola

The National Assembly has resumed work after going on recess for two months.

Apparently, President Goodluck Jonathan has been waiting expectantly for their return, judging from the way he bombarded them with requests on Wednesday.

First, he forwarded the Mid-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) 2013-2015 to them. The framework revealed that the administration plans to spend less on recurrent expenditure next year, and is targeting a boost in oil production that may increase focus on capital projects.

Important takeaways from the forwarded MTEF include:

– Following crude oil theft estimated at between 150,000mbpd and 180,000mbpd, government has initiated measures to plug these leakages by at least 100,000mbpd.

– Average oil production for 2013 is pegged at 2.53mbpd, an increase from the 2012 figure of 2.48mbpd.

– Oil benchmark price of $75 per barrel.

– Revenue which comes in excess of the benchmark will be set aside in the Excess Crude Account (ECA)/Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).

– Budget focus for 2013 to include security, power, agriculture, water resources and education.

– Government overhead to decrease from N266 billion in 2012 to N230 billion in 2013, which is 4.67 per cent of total expenditure.

– A promise to reduce recurrent expenditure from 71.47 per cent to 68.7 per cent, which will see capital expenditure rise from 28.53 per cent to 31.3 per cent in 2013.

He asked for the expeditious approval of the MTEF.

Also during Wednesday’s plenary session, the senate received the following requests from the president:

– Request for the amendments of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Bill 2012 and a Bill for an Act to Amend the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and for other Related Matters.

– Request for the confirmation of Shuaib Ahmed Adamu and N.V. Amaku as ambassadorial nominees.

-Request for confirmation of Honorable Nnoli Nnaji as a member of the governing board of Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, to replace Jerry Ugokwe who declined the offer of the appointment.

– Request for the appointments of Alhaji Ya’u Usman Jama’a (Kaduna) and Barrister Aliyu Datti (Niger) as members of the National Population Commission, NPC.

– Request for the confirmation of Alhaji Hassan Usman Sokodabo as member representing Niger State and the Federal Capital Territory in the Federal Civil Service Commission.

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