By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari will on Friday chair a special session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to deliberate on the draft 2019 Budget.
This was disclosed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents after the end of the weekly FEC, presided over by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He stated that the special FEC which is expected to commence at 10am was fixed to put finishing touches to the budget after which it will be forwarded as Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly.
He did not give details of the estimates or benchmarks contained in the draft copy of the bill to be tabled for deliberations by cabinet members.
Recall that the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, had last month announced that the federal government was considering a leaner 2019 budget of N8.6 trillion, which is leaner than the N9.1 trillion approved by lawmakers for 2018.
Addressing a consultative forum on the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) and fiscal strategy paper (FSP) 2019-2021, the Minister said the decision was due to reduced government revenue projection for the year.
He also said government planned to cut down the level of borrowing from N1.6 trillion in 2018 to N1.5 trillion in 2019, while the deficit component would be reduced from N1.9 trillion in 2018 to N1.6 trillion.
Also briefing journalists, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi disclosed that the council approved N551.810 million for the award of the national freight office contract in Jibia, Katsina State.
He explained that national freight office is always located at the border post, adding that the contract will be executed within 36 weeks.
According to him, “We awarded the national freight office in Jibia for the sum of N551,810,060 million and the contract is to last to 36 weeks. You know that the national freight office is usually located at border post. So, the border post between Katsina and Niger Republic. That is where it is located.”
He said that by next year the federal government would encourage those who transport by trucks between Lagos and Ibadan to use the rail.
“We believe that before the end of June, we will start running from January but, we may not be able to carry enough cargo, we will be able to do that by June/July. At that point, most of the trucks carrying cargo going to Ibadan must be on the rail so, that we can save the Lagos/Ibadan road.”