Implications as NASS passes N9.1trn 2018 budget in May

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SIX months after President Muhammadu Buhari submitted the 2018 budget estimate to a joint session of National Assembly, both chambers on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 each passed the Appropriation Bill. Both Houses increased the N8.6 trillion to N9.1 trillion, an increase of N500 billion. Buhari had presented the budget to the assemblymen on November 7, 2017.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje while laying the report said the increase of N500 billion was done in consultation with the executive and that it followed a decision to increase oil benchmark from the proposed $45 to $51. Crude was selling at $78 per barrel on the day the budget was passed. Other variables include pegging budget exchange rate at N305/US$ and production of 2.3 million barrels of oil per day.

Goje added that the additional N500 billion was spread over some critical sectors in consultation with the executive. He gave a breakdown of how much more will be spent on different sectors.

Of this, N42.72 billion will be spent on security; N57. 15 billion on the 1 per cent vote for health as mandated by the National Health Act; N106.50 billion for the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing; education- N15.7 billion; Judiciary- N10 billion; and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)- N44.20 billion. Earlier proposed 2018 budget deficit was reduced by N50.88 billion deficit reduction. The budget now has a fiscal deficit of N1, 954, 464, 993, 775 and a deficit to GDP of -1.73 per cent.

Further breakdown of how the N9, 120, 334, 988, 225 would be spent includes N530, 421, 368, 624 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 which is an increase 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.

Other details as gleaned from the House of Representatives’ report showed that of the total, N530 billion 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.

Also, the following eight establishments are to get their allocations on first line charge: 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; N7 billion for Public Compliant Commission; N45 billion for Independent National Electoral Commission; and N3 billion for National Human Rights Commission.