2014Budget: Senate, Reps meeting on benchmark deadlocked

The prospect of a rancour-free session on the 2014 budget suffered a major setback on Thursday as both the Senate and the House of Representatives failed to reach a consensus on the crude oil benchmark and the delay in presenting  the 2014 budget.
The Senate  blamed the House for the delay in the presentation of the budget by President Goodluck Jonathan. But the House in its reaction accused the Senate of lying against it.
President Jonathan had on November 18, 2013 cancelled his scheduled visit to the National Assembly to present the estimates of the 2014 budget to a joint session of the legislature.The President,  in a letter to the National Assembly, had said the failure of the two chambers to harmonise their differences on the crude oil benchmark of the budget had necessitated the cancellation.

While the Senate passed $76.5 per barrel as the benchmark, the House passed $79, consistent with the benchmark of the 2013 budget.
Both chambers had subsequently set up a joint committee to sort out the differences over the benchmark.
However, the Senate on Thursday blamed the House of Representatives for the delay in the presentation of the 2014 appropriation bill before the National Assembly by Jonathan.The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, stated this while briefing journalists after the plenary.

He said the joint committee of the Senate and the House had not met principally because members of the committee nominated by the House of Representatives were not in the country.

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