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Senate Approves 2019 Expenditure Framework, Fiscal Strategy

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The Senate on Tuesday, passed the 2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

The MTEF and FSP are documents that provide the framework of designing a budget as enshrined in section 11 (3)of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 6, 2018, sent a letter to the National Assembly detailing the provisions of the two documents.

In it, he made proposals for budget deficit, crude oil benchmark price, exchange rate, among others.

The Chairman Senate committee on Finance, John Enoh who presented said the committee maintained the daily production output of crude oil at 2.3 million barrel per day, USD $60.0/6 as crude oil benchmark price, N305/1US$ as the exchange rate and N500 billion as special intervention fund – as proposed by the president.

On crude oil production, the committee advised that target be achievable due to the “continuous effort of all stakeholders in checkmating the issues of oil facilities vandalism and other vices associated with such regard.”

The committee, however, reduced the proposal for the budget deficit largely financed by borrowing from N1.86 trillion to N1.64 trillion.

It was recommended that the Central Bank of Nigeria continue to adopt strategies on exchange rate that will aid in the “strengthening of the Naira and bridging the gap between the official and parallel market rate of the foreign exchange.”

The committee also urged relevant agencies to continue exploring way of generating additional revenues to bring down the fiscal deficit.

Other suggestions from the committees asked that “the Federal Government should harness the full optimal potential of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in terms of Revenue Generation to minimise the level of borrowing.

“The Federal Government should consider reducing the granting waivers and exemptions while ensuring that the Nigerian Customs Service personnel are at all oil terminals for accountability and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) should consider increasing Tax on luxury goods and services.

“Twenty per cent operating surplus to be remitted by Government owned Enterprises should be deducted at source.”

The Senate’s approval comes weeks after Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, appeared before the Senate to explain why the federal government made slight adjustments on the 2019 MTEF/FSP approved by the Executive Council of the Federation.

He said the adjustment was to accommodate some ‘unanticipated expenditure items’ in the 2019 budget proposals and the adjustments only affected the projected expenditure.

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Nigeria Coronavirus Cases Hit 81 As NCDC Announces 11 New Cases

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Nigeria has recorded 11 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 81.

The Nigeria Disease Control Centre made this known late on Thursday.

It said eight new cases were recorded in Lagos State, two in Enugu and one in Edo.

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Just In: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tests Positive for Coronavirus

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, the government has said.

Mr Johnson has mild symptoms and will self-isolate in Downing Street, after being tested at No 10 by NHS staff.

“He was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty,” a statement said.

He will still be in charge of the government’s handling of the crisis, the statement added.

In a tweet, Mr Johnson said: “Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus. I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.

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Six Coronavirus Patients to be Discharged in Lagos

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The Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Dr Tunde Ajayi, has disclosed that six of the patients at the Infectious Disease Hospital have recovered.

Ajayi via his twitter handle, @thetundeajai, said the patients would be discharged soon.

“Six of our #COVID19 inpatients have recovered and will be discharged soon. There is something Lagos is doing right. Lagos takes the lead,” he wrote.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, 51 cases were confirmed in the country as of 11:25 pm on March 25.

“Out of the 51 confirmed cases, two have been discharged, while one death has been recorded. Lagos has 32 confirmed cases,” the NCDC wrote on its website.

Also, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, at a briefing on Wednesday said the state was tracing over 2,000 contacts.

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