Published On: Tue, Nov 7th, 2017

2018 budget is critical to PMB’s administration, says Budgit CEO

FELIX OLOYEDE

Nigeria’s President Buhari

The 2018 Budget which President Muhammedu Buhari presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday is of significant importance to the present administration, because it is the last budget is would implement before the 2019 general election, says Seun Onigbinde, Chief Executive Officer, Budgit, a civil tech enterprise, which specializes in monitoring public finance.
The president presented a N8.612 trillion budget for 2018 to the joint session of the National Assembly with recurrent expenditure projected to gulp N3.49 trillion and N2.43 trillion would be spent on capital projects. The budget which President Buhari christened Budget of consolidation would see that government spend N2.01 trillion on debt servicing, while statutory transfer and sinking fund (bond) are expected to take N456 billion and N22 billion respectively.
The 2018 budget was 16 per cent higher than the N7.44 trillion budgeted for this year, but only N450 billion has been released out of N2.36 trillion voted for capital projects as s at the end of October 2017, President promised that 50 per cent capital vote would be released by end of December. He argued that late passage of this year’s budget has hampered its implementation.
The government has been struggling to meet its revenue target as “collections were 14 percent below target as of September 2017, mainly due to the shortfall in non-oil revenues. A key revenue shortfall was from Independent Revenues; only 155.14 billion Naira was remitted by September 2017 as against the projected pro-rated sum of 605.87 billion Naira. This represents a 74 percent shortfall, which is very disappointing,” the president stated during his presentation at the National Assembly on Tuesday.

“Since this is the last budget in the last lapse of the President Buhari’s administration before the election, there would be a lot of haste to passage the budget. The budget would be quickly passed because they have a short period for governance next year,” Onigbinde noted. He added the government needs to think on how to properly fund the budget to avoid the challenges of revenue shortfalls it has been battling with this year.
The 2018 budget was based on US$45 per barrel benchmark and estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day crude oil production. The government projected a N305/US$ exchange rate for 2018, expects the economy to grow at 3.5 per cent, while inflation rate would slow to 12.4 per cent next year.
Expectedly, ministry of power, works and housing got the largest chunk of the budget with N555.88 billion allocated to it, followed by transportation and Special intervention progammes which got N263.10 billion and N150 billion respectively. Niger Delta Ministry, North East Intervention Fund and Federal Capital Territory got the lowest slice of the budget, which were proposed to receive N53.89 billion, N45.00 billion and N40.30 billion respectively.
Meanwhile, Senators from the ruling All Progressive Party (APC) lauded the budget proposal, saying it has something every part of the country. But members of the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) argued that the 2018 budget may suffer the same fate as that of the current fiscal year.

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