President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday presented an appropriation bill of N8.612 trillion for the 2018 fiscal year to the joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja.
Buhari said the budget was meant to consolidate the achievements of previous budgets, adding that it was also to deliver on Nigeria’s economic recovery growth.
According to him, with a benchmark of 45 dollars per barrel at the oil production level of 2.3 million barrel per day and an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar in 2018, the budget will consolidate on the achievements of previous years to aggressively steer the economy to the path of steady growth.
The proposed budget had a 16 per cent increase over the 2017 appropriation of N7.298 trillion.
The president said that with the economic recovery made so far, it was clear that Nigeria made the right decisions and urged Nigerians to “support the Federal Government’s policies towards economic recovery”.
Buhari said that 30.8 per cent of the budget proposal had been dedicated to capital expenditure, while N3.494 trillion of the proposal had been set aside for recurrent expenditure.
According to him, N2.014 trillion of the budget has been set aside for debt servicing.
He further said that the size of the 2018 budget was a reflection of his administration’s determination to consolidate and sustain the nation’s economic growth.
While reviewing the performance of his administration, Buhari noted that N1.2 trillion had so far been expended on the execution of capital projects through 2016 budget.
He said the Federal Government had also invested 500 million dollars in the nation’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) as part of deliberate measures to support government’s diversification drives.
The President announced that the nation’s external reserve presently stood at 34 billion dollars as of Sept. 2017, while the country recorded trade surplus of N56.5 billion as of second quarter of 2017.
On food security, the President said that a committee headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had been inaugurated to check smuggling of food items across the country’s border towns.
He warned that food smugglers would be dealt with accordingly by the government.
Buhari said that the government would continue to develop infrastructure and increase investments in agriculture to attain food security and reduce importation.
He added that while the federal government was committed to identifying alternative means of funding new projects, there was the need to continue to pursue the public-private partnership, to provide more infrastructure in the country.
According to him, the federal government has been able to construct or rehabilitate 776 kilometres roads in 2017.
The president said that the construction of Abuja metro line had attained 98 per cent completion, adding that work had commenced on the Ajaouta-Itakpe rail line which was abandoned for 17 years.
He said that the project would be delivered in September 2018, adding that the country’s power sector would witness a turnaround.
“The power sector reform is still working in progress as we have increased power generation but we still have some challenges in transmission and distribution network,’’ Buhari said.
By Our Correspondent