Minister of budget and planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, has said that the government may reduce the oil benchmark of $38 per barrel proposed for the 2016 budget, if the global crude oil prices continue to fall.
Udo Udoma told lawmakers that any review of the oil price on which the record 6 trillion naira ($30.3 billion) budget is predicated could take place as early as June.
“The benchmark of $38 per barrel of price of oil is not sacrosanct because of the subsisting global environment,” Udoma told a parliamentary committee scrutinising the budget, which is expected to be passed by lawmakers on March 17.
“If at mid-year there is no improvement, we would come back to you for mid-term review. The review may come as quickly as June this year,” he said.
Minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, also appeared before the committee and said that once the budget money is released, the economy will be stimulated.
“The economy is slow right now and by the time we start paying contractors and others, the economy will pick up. We expect that from next year, our debt will reduce,” she said.
“We have secured debts with Chinese Nexim Bank and the World Bank at very low interest rates. We are borrowing to finance critical sectors of the economy,” added the finance minister.