19th November, 2013
For the second time this month, President Goodluck Jonathan has failed to present the 2014 budget to the National Assembly
He was expected to present the budget today at the National Assembly.
Jonathan’s decision to defer the presentation of the budget was contained in a letter to the Senate President, Mr. David Mark, dated 18 November.
Jonathan had requested the Senate to grant him the slot on 19 November, 2013 to address a joint session of the two chambers.
The president cited the disparity in the benchmark agreed by the two chambers as reason for his inability to present the budget.
He said the budget would be presented as soon as the Senate and House of Representatives harmonised their position on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
The Senate has approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) based on a benchmark of 76.5 dollars per barrel while the House of Representatives used a benchmark of 79 dollars per barrel.
“ it is not feasible for me to present the budget in the absence of a harmonised position on the MTEF.
“In the circumstance, it has become necessary to defer the presentation of the 2014 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly until such a time when both chambers may have harmonised their positions on MTEF.
“It is my hope that this would be within the shortest possible time,” Jonathan added.
All was set for the presentation today, before the turn of events. Suddenly, the President’s seat, the seat of the Senate President, David Mark, were both taken away from the House of Representatives chambers, venue of the joint session, before Senate President explained the situation of things.
It was the second time the budget presentation was called off.
The first presentation was scheduled for 12 November. But it could not take place, because it also coincided with an international parliamentary conference in Abuja.
Meanwhile, President Jonathan will leave Abuja early Wednesday for London to preside over a three-day meeting of Nigeria’s Honourary International Investors’ Council (HIIC), the presidency, has said.
A statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati stated that issues on the agenda of the meeting included, generating long-term affordable finance for Nigeria’s real sector.
He said that the meeting coordinated by Baroness Lynda Chalker, would not only discussed Nigeria’s information and communications technology master-plan, but also the development of Nigeria’s private equity and venture capital sectors to attract more foreign investments.
Abati said that the meeting of the council would also feature a review of Nigeria’s existing investment policies by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The OECD is a Paris-based international organisation dedicated to the promotion of policies that will improve the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world.
Members of the OECD include the CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, Mr Mohammed al Shaiban and a former South African Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Alec Erwin.
Also in the councils are the Vice President of Hewlett-Packard’s Enterprise Group in Europe, Middle-East and Africa, Mr Olivier Suinat, a former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Shaukat Aziz and the Director of Shell’s International Upstream Business, Mr Andrew Brown.
Abati said that the president would be accompanied by Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, Kashim Shettima of Borno, Senators Emmanuel Paulker and Nenadi Usman.
Also in the president’s entourage are two members of the House of Representatives, Sylvester Ogbaga and Isiaka Bawa, the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the CBN Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi.
The Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr Olusegun Aganga, Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke and Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson are also in the entourage.
Others in the entourage are Ministers of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki, the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Prof. Viola Onwuliri and heads of relevant government agencies.
Abati said that the accompanying ministers and heads of agencies would brief the gathering on developments in their areas of responsibility, and also lead discussions on proposals for overcoming identified challenges.
He said that the president was due back in Abuja at the weekend.
The HIIC was inaugurated in 2004 as a presidential advisory body to attract global financial players in to the Nigerian economy