By Ben Agande
ABUJAâ€”PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, wrote to the Senate asking it to review the 2010 Budget to adjust the benchmark price on which the budget was predicated. He also asked it to review downward the level of aggregate expenditure in the budget.
In a letter to the President of the Senate, David Mark, read on the floor of the Senate, yesterday, President Jonathan also submitted a supplementary budget to provide for â€œuncertain unanticipated key expenditure items.â€
The supplementary budget submitted by the President stood at N639, 824, 478,183 made up of a recurrent expenditure profile of N507,125, 967, 248 and a capital expenditure of N132,698,510,935 for contribution to development funds.
The President said the request became necessary following â€œcertain challenges posed by the serious shortfall in projected revenueâ€ and adverse implications this posed for financing the level of aggregate expenditure appropriated by the National Assembly.
Shortfalls in revenue
President Jonathan wrote: â€œSpecifically, recent revenue developments indicate significant shortfalls in both oil and non-oil revenue which may well continue for the rest of the fiscal year with adverse implications for the financing of the budget. Consequently, given the recent drop in international oil prices from over US$80 per barrel to under US$70 per barrel; it is prudent to revise the oil bench mark price to a more realistic level.â€
The 2010 budget was predicated on a revenue benchmark of $67 per barrel of crude oil. But in his letter to the Senate, President Jonathan asked it to â€œrevise downwards the aggregate level of expenditure from the N4.608billion approved in the 2010 Appropriation Act and adjust the budget details accordingly.â€
He added that there were certain critical items â€œsuch as statutory transfer, debt service, the service-wide vote and other critical expenditure heads that were either inadvertently omitted or under-provisioned for.â€
The President said it had also become necessary to â€œcater for certain unanticipated items of expenditure, e.g. Negotiated Civil Service Wage Increase, PHCN, Arrears of Monetization and 50th Anniversary celebrations,â€ stressing that it was proposed to â€œprovide for all these expenditure through a supplementary Budget.â€
He called on the Senate to expeditiously consider the requests and approve them to resolve challenges to the 2010 budget.