The Senate yesterday inaugurated a six-member committee to form part of the National Assembly conference committee expected to harmonise the contentious crude oil price benchmark with the House of Representatives.
Senate President David Mark named Senator Ahmed Makarfi as chairman of the six-member committee.
Mark said the committee would sit with the House of Representatives’ Committee to “jointly decide an acceptable benchmark for crude oil in the 2014 fiscal year.”
Other members of the Senate Committee include Senators Enyinnaya Abaribe, Ita Enang, Smart Adeyemi, Ayo Akinyelure and Bello Tukur.
Mark said the early completion of the conference committee’s task will ensure harmonised positions on the 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) and consequently allow presentation of the 2014 budget estimates to the National Assembly.
President Goodluck Jonathan had written to the National Assembly to express his concern over the crude oil benchmark pegged at $79 per barrel by the House of Representatives, stating that without a resolution of the benchmark it will be futile to present a budget that would cause rancour between the executive and the legislature and delay its passage.
Subsequently, Jonathan for a second time shelved Tuesday’s prior scheduled presentation of the 2014 budget until a consensus is reached between both arms of government on the benchmark.