Nigeria’s 2015 budget of 4.3 trillion Naira has passed the crucial second reading in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
At plenary on Wednesday, federal lawmakers in the Senate, however, described the 2015 budget as a deficit budget which was grossly exaggerated.
The lawmakers in the upper chamber also expressed concerns that in the face of the declining oil prices, the country may not be able to finance its capital and recurrent expenditure.
The budget is key in the deliberations of the National Assembly, as they try to ensure that the budget approval was concluded before the general elections that will hold in February.
It is one month to the elections and the federal lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives are in a race to retain their seats.
Although the lawmakers are engaging in electioneering, they are required to perform their constitutional duties one of which is working on the 2015 budget.
The 2015 budget is put at 4.3 trillion Naira with a recurrent expenditure of 2.6 trillion Naira and capital expenditure of 627 billion Naira.
Lawmakers in the Senate were highly critical of the 2015 budget, considering the declining price of oil in the international market, which has gone lower than the revised benchmark price of crude, which was put at 65 dollars per barrel.
The lawmakers are worried that the country may have a deficit budget.
A federal lawmaker, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, expressed concerns that the Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriation would find it difficult to work on the 2015 budget and he gave reasons which also highlighted the current trend in the crude oil market.
Some lawmakers also condemned the withdrawal of funds from the Excess Crude Account without appropriation from the National Assembly and also the refusal of government agencies to remit funds to the Federation Account.
In the House of Representatives, federal lawmakers also expressed reservations about the 2015 budget and the need for diversification of the economy.
After deliberations on the budget, it scaled through the second reading in the Senate and the House of Representatives and was sent to the respective committees for further legislative work.