Government reviews 2017 fiscal plan to check recession
• Meets operators over aviation sector crisis
• Arik resumes flight operations
As part of measures to check the nation’s economic recession, the Federal Government is to review its 2017 fiscal plan recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) but yet to be submitted to the National Assembly.
By the move, the government will re-prioritise its spending in such a way as to guarantee a quick recovery of the ailing economy.
On July 25, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma presented key fundamentals of the 2017 budget proposal to include an oil benchmark price of $42.5 per barrel, up from the $30 in the current year’s budget. There are also the retention of the production volume of 2.2m bpd target, exchange rate of N290/$ and projected N7.418 trillion federation revenue, among other proposals.
The expenditure profile is awaiting submission to the National Assembly on resumption next week Tuesday. But as the economy is in recession, a rejig of the spending plan has been approved.
Sequel to this decision, ministers and heads of relevant Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) will today meet in the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja, to present and discuss priority areas of the 2017 budget.
A statement by Akpandem James, the Media Adviser to Udoma, read in part: “The key objective of the retreat is to discuss the 2017 Budget as well as steps being taken to get the economy out of recession. It will provide an opportunity to discuss the framework of the budget, the key priorities and the deliverables.
“President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will participate while private sector facilitators and some economic experts are expected to provide perspectives during the technical sessions.”
According to the statement, the retreat has become necessary because over the years the country’s growth and development has been impeded by mismatch between planned targets and budgetary outcomes at the national and sectorial levels due to a lack of synergy between the various MDAs.
Similarly, the Federal Government and other stakeholders are set to meet in Lagos over the challenges that are fast consuming the aviation industry.
The meeting, scheduled for next week Friday, will have the stakeholders proffering solutions to the problems in the sector, one of which may be another bailout fund to rescue domestic airlines from indebtedness.
Meanwhile, scheduled flight operations of Arik Air have resumed nationwide, just a day after the airline cancelled all domestic and international flights services.
The Guardian learnt that Arik, the biggest domestic carrier in the country, reached an agreement with its insurance parties in Nigeria and overseas, which enabled some of its airplanes to fly again.