Nigeria explores new revenue streams in 2017 budget

By Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

Senator Udo Udoma defending the revised Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) before the Senate in Abuja

The Nigerian Government has assembled four different plans to explore new streams of incomes to fund the 2017 budget.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said this when appeared before a joint committee of the Senate on Appropriation and Finance on Monday.

New oil policy
According to Senator Udoma, “the government will issue new oil licenses, review the current joint venture arrangements with oil companies, review marginal oil fields, while mounting pressure on revenue generating agencies to surpass expected targets.’’

The Nigerian Government has also said that the 2017 budget oil benchmark would be pegged at $42.50, which is a departure from $38 per barrel used for the 2016 budget.

The daily oil production volume for 2017 was retained at 2.2 million barrel per day while the exchange rate was put at $305 to a Naira. The new exchange rate is significantly higher than that of 2016, pegged at $197 to a Naira.

“A total of 10 trillion Naira is being targeted by the Government as revenue during the 2017 fiscal year. Out of this amount, about 5 trillion Naira is expected to be generated from the sale of crude oil.

“Non-oil revenues will rake in about 5.06 trillion Naira. These revenues are expected to come from corporate and company taxes, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, Stamp Duties, capital gains tax, value added tax, Customs, excise, fees, surcharges on luxury items, special levies and the Government independent revenue,’’ Senator Udoma said.

The 2017 budget, initially pegged at 6.6866 trillion Naira has also been revised upward to 7.298 trillion Naira. From this amount, the Government is expected to expend 1.488 trillion Naira in servicing domestic debts.

Foreign debt
On Foreign debt, 175.882 billion Naira will be spent in 2017 as against 54.480 Naira spent in the 2016 budget. On capital expenditures, 2.058 trillion Naira is budgeted while recurrent expenditures will gulp 1.866 trillion Naira.

The Government also intends to borrow a total of 2.321 trillion Naira. Out of this, 1.253 trillion Naira will be sourced locally, while 1.067 trillion Naira will be raised from foreign sources.

In his detailed explanation on the budget projections, Senator Udoma said, “I know 7 trillion Naira seems larger than 6 trillion Naira. In actual dollar term, the 2017 budget is smaller. We have had challenges in revenue generation in funding the 2016 budget. We are trying to get to the bottom of revenue generating agencies, to raise more money.

“On independent revenue, we need to work with the National Assembly… The issue of 80 per cent of operating surplus is a problem. We need to work with the National Assembly to review certain clauses of the law. 

We need to be more imaginative and creative to get out of the problem we have with revenue generating agencies.’’

“We want to issue a presidential order to ensure that revenue generating agencies are unable to spend money unless payment of salaries until their budgets are passed.

“We want to be more engaging in the Niger Delta to ensure that there is peace for us to produce. We will be increasing the amount for the Amnesty Programme to the old figure. It is important to engage the people in the Niger Delta region,” he stated.

President Buhari’s presentation
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the 2017 appropriation bill  before a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday. Thereafter, the senate will go on with the consideration and passage of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Fiscal Strategy Paper document.

In another development, the senate committee on communications assured Nigerians that the 2017 budget of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, would be passed in good time.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan gave the assurance during the committee’s oversight visit at the NCC on Monday.

Mercy Chukwudiebere