President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, officially presented the 2018 budget to both chambers of the National Assembly at a joint session.
Buhari, who cashed in on the opportunity to give a review of the performance of the 2016 and 2017 budgets respectively, expressed hope that the 2018 will be a year of “better outcomes for the country.”
He unveiled a deficit budget of N8.612trn for 2018, with N6.607trillion as revenue estimates. The President added that the budget is based on the assumption of production of 2.3 million barrel of crude oil per day and excahnge rate of 305 naira to 1 dollar. While $45 per barrel is proposed as oil price benchmark for 2018.
According to Buhari, the government is expecting to generate N2.442 trilion from oil revenue and N4.165trillion naria from non-oil revenues.
Buhari explained that that the government intends to borrow N1.699trillion in 2018 to fund the deficit.
His words: “A total expenditure of 8..612 trillion Naira is proposed for 2018. This is a nominal increase of 16 percent above the 2017 Budget estimate. In keeping with our policy, 30.8 percent (or 2.652 trillion Naira) of aggregate expenditure (inclusive of capital in Statutory Transfers) has been allocated to the capital budget.
“The Federal Government’s estimated total revenue is 6.607 trillion Naira in 2018, which is about 30 percent more than the 2017 target. As we pursue our goal of revenue diversification, non-oil revenues will become a larger share of total revenues. In 2018, we project oil revenues of 2.442 trillion Naira, and non-oil as well as other revenues of 4.165 trillion Naira.
“We plan to finance the deficit partly by new borrowings estimated at 1.699 trillion Naira. Fifty percent of this borrowing will be sourced externally, whilst the balance will be sourced domestically. The balance of the deficit of 306 billion Naira is to be financed from proceeds of privatisation of some non-oil assets by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).”
The President who was ushered into the House of Representative chamber at about 2.03pm said next year’s budget would consolidate the achievements of his administration.
According to him,”to consolidate on the momentum of the 2017 Budget’s implementation, many ongoing capital projects have been provided for in the 2018 Budget. This is in line with our commitment to appropriately fund ongoing capital projects to completion. By allocating 30.8 percent of the 2018 Budget to capital expenditure, the Federal Government is also demonstrating its strong commitment to investing in critical infrastructure capable of spurring growth and creating jobs in the Nigerian economy.”
A sectoral breakdown of the capital expenditure reveals that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, got the lion share of N555.88billion, Transportation: N263.10 billion; Defence: N145.00 billion; this is against N529 billion,N202 billion and N140 billion which the ministries received as capital votes in 2017.
Others are Agriculture and Rural Development N118.98 billion against N92 billion. ; Water Resources: N95.11 billion, against N85 billion in 2017; Industry, Trade and Investment: N82..92 billion, against N81 billion in 2017; Interior: N63.26 billion, against N63 billion in 2017, .Education N61.73 billion, against 50 billion.
Also , Universal Basic Education Commission got N109.06 billion; Health: N71.11 billion;Federal Capital Territory: N40.30 billion;North East Intervention Fund N45.00 billion; Niger Delta Ministry: N53.89 billion; and Niger Delta Development Commission: N71.20 billion.
In the 2017, UBEB had gotten N92 billion, Health, N51 billion, FCT
N37 billion, Niger Delta Ministry N33 billion and NDDC N61 billion as capital votes.
However, allocation for Special Intervention Programmes and Zonal remain at N150.00 billion and N100.00 billion and Special Intervention Programmes respectively.
Buhari said key expenditure which the government is determined to make in 2018 include: “N9.8 billion for the Mambilla hydro power project, including N8.5 billion as counterpart funding; N12 billion counterpart funding for earmarked transmission lines and substations; N35..41 billion for the National Housing Programme; N10.00 billion for the 2nd Niger Bridge; and About N300 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of the strategic roads.”
He added: “To maintain peace and security in the Niger Delta for economic and social activities to thrive, the provision of 65 billion Naira for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been retained in the 2018 Budget. In addition, the capital provision for the Ministry of Niger Delta has been increased to 53.89 billion Naira from the 34.20 billion Naira provided in 2017. This is to further support the development in the region. We will complete all critical projects, including the East-West Road, which has a provision of about 17.32 billion Naira in 2018.
“Across the nation, and particularly in the North East region, our commitment to the security of life and property remains absolute. We will ensure that our gallant men and women in arms are properly equipped and well-motivated. The result of our efforts is evident in the gradual return to normalcy in the North East. It is in this spirit that I recently assented to the North-East Development Commission Bill that was passed by this Distinguished House. We expect that this development will consolidate on our ongoing efforts to combat insurgency, reintegrate Internally Displaced Persons and rebuild communities in the North East Region, which have been adversely affected by the insurgency.”
Buhari also stated that “a substantial part of the recurrent expenditure in 2018 would be deployed for the payment of salaries and overheads “in key Ministries providing critical public services such as: N510.87 billion for Interior, N435.01 billion for Education; N422.43 billion for Defence; and N269.34 billion for Health.”