Senate set to adopt 78 dollars oil benchmark for 2015 fiscal year

The Senate is set to adopt the proposed 78 dollars as the country’s oil price benchmark for 2015 fiscal year.

The discosure was made on Tuesday at the joint meeting on 2015-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework organised by Senate Joint Committees in Abuja.

The Committees are Finance, National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, who presided said the process would be concluded before a final decision was taken.

According to him, the various committees do not have any major objections on the proposed figure.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government in the 2015-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper proposed the figure for 2015.

The document had reminded the Committees members on the need to take cognisance of the global supply-demand balance that was edging out the recent spikes in oil price.

According to the paper, there is increasing supply arising from exploitation of sale oil and gas and Iranian sanctions suspension leading to global surplus crude oil production capacity.

It said the import of the development was an indicator that the high oil price recorded in recent past would not be long-lived.

“Against this backdrop and need to rebuild our fiscal buffers, we approached the estimation of our benchmark price with caution,’’ the document said.

On revenue collection, Makarfi said the committees were delighted with the effort been made by both the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) so far.

He, however, said the two most important organs of revenue collection must increase their targets with a view to attract more funds to the federation account.

“It is not enough to set an achievement target, we are of the opinion that the agencies could bring more than they are remitting now,’’ Ahmed said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NCS has already met its set target for 2014 by remitting N713 billion since September.

Sen. Joshua Dariye (PDP-Plateau), a member of one of the Committees, said heads of strategic establishments should make financial projections they could handle within their tenures.

He said strong measures must be taken to block leakages in revenue collections.

However, Dr Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, who led the team to the hearing, said modalities were been put in place to encourage transparency in the system.