• Constitutes committee to explore financing options

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Five days after the National Assembly passed the 2017 budget, the Economic Management Team (EMT) chaired by acting President Yemi Osinbajo met in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday to discuss the modalities for funding the budget.

Although the National Assembly was yet to transmit the budget to the executive, the meeting was meant to brainstorm and strategise on how the budget would be implemented ahead of its transmission.

According to the acting president’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, the team explored available funding options for the budget ahead of its transmission to avoid delay in implementation after it is signed into law.

Against this backdrop, he said the team constituted a smaller committee saddled with the responsibility of exploring funding options for the budget.

“The EMT discussed the funding of the budget so that we can hit the ground running once we receive the budget formally and sign. That was what was discussed in relation to the budget – revenues, loans, etcetera.

“They are basically ongoing discussions. There is a smaller group in the EMT that is responsible for the funding of the budget and it was just an ongoing discussion,” Akande said.

The National Assembly had raised the budget of N7.2 trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to N7.4 trillion, with the Appropriation Bill predicating funding sources on oil revenue pegged at N1.985 trillion; non-oil revenue at N1.73 trillion; and other federal government independent revenues sources.

The government had ahead of the presentation of the budget last year stated that Nigeria would borrow more from foreign sources than local sources to finance the budget, in order derive greater benefits from lower debt cost and consequently reduce pressure on its finances.

Members of the team are the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, her counterparts in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma and Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah.

Other members of the team are the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze; Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo; and other relevant government agencies.