President Muhammadu Buhari has presented a budget of N7.30tn for the year 2017.
Presenting it before a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, he said that N2.24tn, representing 30.7 per cent of the 2017 budget, would be spent on capital expenditure to lift the economy from recession.
The presentation of the budget was earlier moved from 10a.m. to 2 p.m and the president explained that his unexpected journey to Gambia had caused the delay.
Budget of growth
The Nigerian President presented the country’s budget estimate which he calls budget of recovery and growth, and pegs the nation’s, currency, the Naira at N305 to $1.
As crude oil still plays a dominant role in Nigeria’s foreign exchange, the president broke the news thus: “Distinguished members of the National Assembly, the 2017 Budget is based on a benchmark crude oil price of US$42.5 per barrel; an oil production estimate of 2.2 million barrels per day; and an average exchange rate of N305 to the US dollar.”
With regard to expenditure, the Nigerian government wants to spend above that of this year, saying “we have proposed a budget size of N7.298 trillion which is a nominal 20.4% increase over 2016 estimates. 30.7% of this expenditure will be capital in line with our determination to reflate and pull the economy out of recession as quickly as possible.”
President Buhari said provision was also made in the estimates for activities that will foster a safe and conducive atmosphere for the pursuit of economic and social activities.
He also gave out priorities which his government would pursue, next year, in order to fast track development in the country.
Key capital spending provisions in the Budget include the following: Power, Works and Housing: N529billion; Transportation: N262 billion; Special Intervention Programmes: N150 billion. Defence: N140 billion; Water Resources: N85 billion; Industry, Trade and Investment: N81 billion; Interior: N63 billion; Education N50 billion; Universal Basic Education Commission: N92 billion Health: N51 billion Federal Capital Territory N37 billion; Niger Delta Ministry: N33 billion; and Niger Delta Development Commission: N61 billion;
The Nigerian leader also spoke of his intention to continue with the amnesty programme in the oil rich Niger Delta area of southern Nigeria.
“In this regard, the allocation for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been increased to N65 billion in the 2017 Budget. Furthermore, N45 billion in funding has been provisioned for the rehabilitation of the North East to complement the funds domiciled at the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative as well as commitments received from the multinational donors.”
Railways have always been in the plans of the federal government and it wants to ensure the work started earlier, did not just continue but were completed.
“Efforts to fast-track the modernization of our railway system will receive further boost through the allocation of N213.14 billion as counterpart funding for the Lagos-Kano, Calabar-Lagos, Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri railway, and Kaduna-Abuja railway projects. As I mentioned earlier, in 2016, we invested a lot of time ensuring the paper work is done properly while negotiating the best deal for Nigeria. I must admit this took longer than expected but I am optimistic that these projects will commence in 2017 for all to see.”
The president said security, employment generation, agriculture and solid minerals development would continue to receive priority attention of his government.
The government is also laying emphasis on the consumption of ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods.