Reps, Senate approve 2018 budget, raise estimate by N500b

WorldStage Newsonline— After months of delay, the Senate and the House of Representatives have finally approved the 2018 budget with N500 billion different from what was submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 7, 2017.

The budget presented by Buhari rose from N8.6 trillion to N9.1 trillion, six months after its presentation.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Danjuma Goje who laid the report before the Senate in plenary, six months after it was presented said N500 billion addition to the budget was done in consultation with the executive, adding that the increment was informed by a decision to increase oil benchmark from the proposed N45 to N51 with adoption of exchange rate of N305 to a dollar and production of 2.3 million barrels of oil per day.

Goje said the funds accrued from the increment will be spent on some projects already earmarked by the committee.

He said the surplus fund was spread on some ‘critical sectors’ in consultation with the executive. He gave a breakdown of how much more will be spent on different sectors.

According to the report, N42.72billion will be spent on security, N57. 15 billion on the 1 per cent vote for health as mandated by the National Health Act, N106.50b billion for the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

Other areas are; education, N15.7 billion, Judiciary, N10 billion and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), N44.20billion.

He added that the increment will allow for a N50.88 billion deficit reduction.

In the final breakdown, the senate passed a 2018 budget of N9, 120, 334, 988, 225 of which N530, 421, 368, 624 is for statutory transfers as against N456, 458, 654, 074 proposed by the executive.

N2, 203, 835, 365, 699 was budgeted for debt service as proposed while N190, 000, 000, 000 was budgeted for sinking fund for maturing loans.

N3, 512, 677, 902, 077 was earmarked for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure with a slight increment from N3, 494, 277, 820, 219 proposed and N2, 873, 400, 351, 825 was budgeted for capital expenditure as against N2, 427, 665, 113, 222.

The budget will have a fiscal deficit of N1, 954, 464, 993, 775 and a deficit to GDP of -1.73 per cent.

At the House of Representatives, the appropriations committee also presented its report.

Of the total, N530billion is for statutory transfers; N2 trillion for debt service; N2 trillion for sinking fund for maturing bonds and N2 trillion for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure. Capital expenditure is N2.8 trillion.

According to the report, eight establishments are to get their allocations on first line charge.

These are N110 billion for statutory transfer to the National Judicial Council, N81 billion to the Niger-Delta Development Commission, N34 billion as part payment to NDDC Outstanding Liabilities on Federal Government of Nigeria, N109 billion for Universal Basic Education, N139 billion for National Assembly and N7 billion for Public Compliant Commission.

The Senate and House of Representatives had promised to pass the budget on April 24, but failed to do so.

There were equally assurances that the budget would be passed in the first week of May but it was not passed.

The Senate had on several occasions accused Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of not keeping to appointments with the various standing committees to defend their budgets.

Subsequently, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, on April 12, mandated the Appropriation Committee to tidy up reports on the budget latest by April 13.

With this development, the January to December budget cycle would not be obtainable with the 2018 budget.

Buhari had on Nov. 7, 2017 presented a budget of N8.6 trillion before  a joint session of the National Assembly.

The president who announced the 2018 budget as “Budget of Consolidation”, said the projected expenditure would drive rapid economic recovery.

He said at the session that with a benchmark of 45 dollars per barrel at an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar in 2018, the budget would consolidate on the achievements of previous budgets to aggressively steer the economy to the path of steady growth.

Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •   
  •   
  •   
  •   
  •  

Leave a Reply