OrderPaperToday – President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday presented the 2019 appropriation bill totaling N8.83 trillion to a joint sitting of the National Assembly.

The budget proposal has a recurrent cost of N4.04 trillion and N2.031 trillion of the capital expenditure and includes grants and donor funds of N209.92 billion.

The President while presenting the budget said the sum of N2.14 trillion has been provided for debt service.

The presentation event was not without some drama as the President was heckled and booed severally by lawmakers.

According to him “out of this amount, 80 percent is to service domestic debt which accounts for about 70 percent of the total debt. Although our national debt is within sustainable limits, we need to increase our domestic resource mobilization to bring down our debt-revenue ratio over the medium term.”

He said the Budget proposal is based on the following assumptions that oil price benchmark of $60 per barrel; oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day, including condensates; exchange  rate of N305/$; real GDP growth of 3.01 percent; and inflation rate of 9.98 percent.

President  also allocated the sum of N569.07 billion for the Ministry of Interior; N435.62 billion for the Ministry of Defence,  N462.24 billion for the Ministry of Education; an N315.62 billion for the Ministry of Health.

According to him the revenue of N6.97 trillion is projected which  is 3 percent lower than the 2018 estimate of N7.17 trillion but is consisting of Oil revenue projected at N3.73 trillion while non-oil revenue is estimated at N1.39 trillion.

He said we “have allowed for N305 billion ($1 billion) for under-recovery by NNPC on PMS in 2019. We will continue working to bring it downwards so that such resources are freed up to meet the developmental needs of our people”

Speaking on the oil subsidy, he contended that the period of economic challenges where purchasing power is weak, “we must reduce some of the burden on Nigerians.  The problem with subsidies in the past is abuse and corruption. Today the government through the NNPC is the sole importer of PMS and therefore, the under-recovery is from the NNPCs trading account. This means the possibility of some marketers falsifying claims is removed.”

He also assured the workers especially about the minimum wage issue saying that, “I am committed to addressing the issue of a new minimum wage and I will be sending a bill to the National Assembly on this. However, in order to avoid a fiscal crisis for the Federal Government, as well as the States, it is important to devise ways to ensure that its implementation does not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.”

The President said he would empower a high powered technical committee which would be set up to advise on ways of funding an ” increase in the minimum wage
and the attendant wage adjustments, without having to resort to additional borrowings.”

He noted that the technical committee “will be the basis of a Finance Bill which will be submitted to the National Assembly, alongside the Minimum Wage Bill.”

Read the full budget speech here.

Additional reporting by Alex Okoro


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