Nigeria's Buhari submits slimmer budget to lawmakers

2018-12-20 06:18
Muhammadu Buhari (File: AFP)

Muhammadu Buhari (File: AFP)

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday presented parliament with his government's 2019 budget plan that he said was to help growth, fight poverty and boost infrastructure.

The draft budget, at 8.83 trillion naira ($24.3 billion), was smaller than the 9.12 trillion approved for the previous year.

Buhari, who is seeking re-election in February, said the budget which was unveiled before a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja, was "to further place the economy on the path of inclusive and sustainable growth and eradicate poverty."

He said projected revenue would be 6.29 trillion naira against 7.71 trillion naira in 2018.

Capital expenditure was put at 3.12 trillion naira, representing 30 percent of the budget, while the deficit was put at 1.3% of GDP.

"We will continue to put emphasise on power, roads and rail projects," he said, adding that "this budget has benefitted from the extensive deliberations of all stakeholders in our journey to inclusive and sustainable growth".

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He said 2.14 trillion naira had been be allocated for debt servicing, adding that priority would be given to payment of local debts to reflate the fragile economy, which recently emerged from its first recession in over two decades.

The recession was largely caused by low crude prices and militant attacks on energy facilities since oil sales make up two-thirds of government revenue.

Buhari said the budget would be based on an exchange rate of 305 naira to the dollar and a projected oil output of 2.3 million barrels per day at an assumed price of $60 per barrel as against 51 dollars in the previous year.

Buhari said the government was monitoring global oil markets - where Brent oil is currently at around $56 and WTI around $47 - and would "respond to developments in the international oil market".

He said real economic growth was estimated at three% for next year as against 1.8% in 2018, while inflation was put at 9.98% as against 11.3% currently.

The president appealed for an early passage of the budget, stressing that "more can be achieved in the overall interests of Nigerians if we work together."

The 2018 budget was passed in June after a six-month delay over a row with parliament.

Read more on:    muhammadu buhari  |  nigeria  |  west africa
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