by Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja
THE N727 billion added to the N10.2 trillion Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) proposal by the National Assembly was on Monday approved at an extra-ordinary Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
After a five-hour meeting, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Council accepted the N10.729 trillion returned to the executive from the legislature.
It was learnt that the Council, at Monday’s meeting, approved the 2020 Appropriation Bill which would be presented by the President to the joint session of the National Assembly.
A source, who spoke on a condition of anonymity, said the FEC commended the National Assembly for the increment of the crude oil benchmark from $55 to $57 per barrel.
The source said: “FEC is happy with the National Assembly for increasing the benchmark to $57 per barrel. The additional $2 is to take care of recruitment in the security agencies and also attend to critical areas.
“This is a sign that the legislature and the executive will work together for the interest of Nigerians. It is a good development,” he said.
It was learnt that officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, led by the Director-General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, made submissions on the budget.
The early submission is geared towards returning the budget from the May-June cycle to January-December cycle.
Today’s presentation, billed for 2pm, would have taken place in the third week of September, but for President Buhari’s participation at the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Besides, the President was in South Africa from last Wednesday to Friday to parley with his South African counterpart President Cyril Ramaphosa.
A statement issued at the weekend by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had said the meeting was scheduled to put finishing touches to the 2020 budget proposal.
At the meeting were: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari; Acting Head of Civil Service of the Federation Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan and cabinet members.