The federal government has hinted of plans to further review downward the price of oil benchmark to $20 per barrel – in a worse case scenario. The government said it is actually in the process of an amendment that is bringing down the revenue indicator to $20 per barrel.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed made the disclosure yesterday during the web dialogue session with some stakeholders. She was referring to the current price of crude hovering around $20pb and hinted the revised budget could be benchmarked at the price.
However, she said it is work in progress. The current reality is that the 2020 budget which was predicated on a $57pb is not sustainable. The Minister had announced that the initial assumed oil price of $57 per barrel would be reduced to $30 per barrel if the worse happened, a figure that is now proposed to be further reviewed down.
Mrs Ahmed also said the nation’s oil and gas projects will be delivered much later than earlier planned based on the reduction in the 2020 budget.
The Minister’s special adviser on media, Yunusa Abdullahi, in a response to our probe into the Minister’s statement said the government is revising the budget to meet current reality. “The price of crude is hovering around $20pb so a worse case scenario could see the benchmark for the budget pegged at $20pb but that is subject to the approval of the President and the National Assembly,” he said.
Recall the Minister had in March this year said the Federal government’s N10.59 trillion 2020 budget would be cut by about 15 per cent. The sharp decline in prices of oil has gravely affected the nation’s economy.
The Minister under the Fiscal Responsibility Act engaged the citizens and to feel their pulse and share opinion and take their suggestions as the review of the budget is being done.