President Goodluck Jonathan has agreed to reverse his administration's plan to introduce the N5,000 note, authoritative sources confirmed to LEADERSHIP yesterday.
The currency restructuring, announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), would have seen the unveiling of the N5,000 note while lower currencies were to be converted to coins.
Weeks of public outrage criticising the policy culminated in the Senate and the House of Representatives approving separate resolutions this Tuesday, demanding that the plan be suspended.
The president met with the leadership of the two arms, hours after the National Assembly sessions on Tuesday, and assured that any "approval given can be reversed since it is the wish of the people". It remains unclear whether the president has issued a directive to that effect.
Jonathan's decision might not be unconnected to Tuesday's resolution by both chambers of the National Assembly directing the CBN to shelve its planned introduction of the N5,000 note into the economy next year, LEADERSHIP learnt.
Shortly after a closed-door executive session, the speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, yesterday informed members of a Tuesday night meeting he had with Jonathan alongside Senate president David Mark over implementation of the 2012 budget and the planned introduction of the N5,000 note.
It was learnt that the National Assembly leaders further briefed Jonathan on the rejection of the N5,000 note by Nigerians, a situation that prompted the president to agree in principle to instruct the CBN to shelve the planned move.
Also, President Jonathan yesterday forwarded to the Senate the medium-term expenditure framework and fiscal strategy paper (FSP) for 2013-2015, with the decision to allocate funds for the continuation of the petroleum product subsidy in the 2013 budget.
The government also predicated the 2013-2015 budgets on the oil baseline benchmark of $75 per barrel.
The president also forwarded two bills to the Senate for amendments. The bills are: Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill, 2012; and a Bill for an Act to Amend the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, and for other Related Matters.
President Jonathan, in the letter submitting the MTEF to the Senate, said it was "pursuant to section 13, 12 and 11 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007", adding that the "preparation towards submission of the 2013 budget to the National Assembly has since commenced with activities leading to the preparation of the 2013-2015 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper".
The highpoints of the framework was also the commitment of the federal government to rationalise the large number of agencies based on the recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye committee and also to focus on completing ongoing projects, particularly those with a high rate of return.
The general overview of the framework indicates that the federal government has pegged average oil production at 2.53 million barrels per day for the 2013 fiscal year, and 2.61mbpd and 2.65mbpd for 2014 and 2015.
However, the government said that, in line with the oil price-based fiscal rule as stated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, it chose a cautious oil benchmark of $75 pb for the 2013-2015 periods. The government added it is below the current world market price and is underpinned by their model of 10-year and 5-year moving averages, with some adjustment.
It, however, declared that revenue in excess of the benchmark price will continue to be set aside in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).
The government said the downside risks to economic growth had been taken into consideration in the preparation of the MTEF and FSP, adding that the government's priority sectors will continue to receive most of the capital allocations over the period.
The policies outlined in the 2013-2015 MTEF and FSP, the government added, were in line with the transformation agenda of the administration.
Meanwhile, the president also yesterday requested the Senate to confirm the ambassadorial nomination of Mr Shuaib Ahmed Adamu (Bauchi) and Mr N.V. Amaku, just as he sought the Senate's confirmation of Hon. Nnoli Nnaji as member on the governing board of Federal Road Maintenance Agency. Hon Nnaji will replace Hon. Jerry Ugokwe who declined the offer. Similarly, the appointments of Alhaji Ya'u Usman Jama'a (Kaduna) and Barr. Aliyu Datti (Niger) were presented to the Senate for confirmation as members of the National Population Commission (NPC) by the president.
Also, Jonathan has requested the Senate to confirm Alhaji Hassan Usman Sokodabo as member representing Niger State and the Federal Capital Territory in the Federal Civil Service Commission.
The reduction in the size of government will be achieved through stricter rationalisation of available resources including sustaining the reduction of overhead votes. "The figure for overhead decreased from N536 billion in 2010 to N266 billion in 2012. It is expected to further decrease in 2013 to N230 billion or 4.67 percent of total expenditure."