HIGHLIGHTS OF BUHARI’S 2018 BUDGET SPEECH

    1. Proposed Expenditure for 2018

       A total expenditure of 8.612 trillion Naira is proposed for 2018. This is a nominal increase of 16 percent above the 2017 Budget estimate. In keeping with our policy, 30.8 percent (or 2.652 trillion Naira) of aggregate expenditure (inclusive of capital in Statutory Transfers) has been allocated to the capital budget.

      We expect our fiscal operations to result in a deficit of 2.005 trillion Naira or 1.77 percent of GDP. This reduction is in line with our plans under the ERGP to progressively reduce deficit and borrowings.

      We plan to finance the deficit partly by new borrowings estimated at 1.699 trillion Naira. Fifty percent of this borrowing will be sourced externally, whilst the balance will be sourced domestically. The balance of the deficit of 306 billion Naira is to be financed from proceeds of privatisation of some non-oil assets by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

       The proposed 8.612 trillion Naira of 2018 Aggregate Expenditure comprises:

      a.    Recurrent Costs of N3.494 trillion; b.    Debt Service of N2.014 trillion; c.    Statutory Transfers of about N456 billion; d.    Sinking Fund of N220 billion (to retire maturing bond to Local Contractors); e.    Capital Expenditure of N2.428 trillion (excluding the capital component of Statutory Transfers). Statutory Transfers

       456.46 billion Naira was provided in the 2018 Budget for Statutory Transfers. The 5 percent increase over last year’s provision is mainly due to increases in transfer to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which are related directly to the size of oil revenue.

      Debt Restructuring

      We are closely monitoring our debt service to revenue ratio. We shall address this ratio through our non-oil revenue-generation drive and restructuring of the existing debt portfolio. Presently, domestic debt accounts for about 79 percent of the total debt. Our medium-term strategy is to reduce the proportion of our domestic debt to 60% by the end of 2019 and increase external debt to 40 percent. It is noteworthy that rebalancing our debt portfolio will enhance private sector access to domestic credit.  In addition, annual debt service costs will reduce as external debts are serviced at lower rates and repaid over a longer period than domestic debt.

      Recurrent Expenditure

      A substantial part of the recurrent cost proposal for 2018 is for the payment of salaries and overheads in key Ministries providing critical public services such as:

      a.    N510.87 billion for Interior;

      b.    N435.01 billion for Education;

      c.    N422.43 billion for Defence; and

      d.    N269.34 billion for Health.

      The allocation to these Ministries represent significant increases over votes in previous budgets.

      Personnel Costs

      Personnel costs is projected to rise by 12 percent in 2018. Although we have made substantial savings by registering MDAs on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) platform, the increase is mainly due to provision for staff promotion arrears, and recruitments by the Military, Police Force and para-military agencies. Furthermore, I have directed agencies are not to embark on any fresh recruitment unless they have obtained all the requisite approvals. Any breach of this directive will be severely sanctioned.

      Overhead Costs

      Overhead costs is projected to rise by 26 billion Naira in 2018, a modest increase of about 12 percent reflecting inflationary adjustments. MDAs are required to adhere to government regulations regarding cost control.

      Capital Expenditure

       To consolidate on the momentum of the 2017 Budget’s implementation, many ongoing capital projects have been provided for in the 2018 Budget. This is in line with our commitment to appropriately fund ongoing capital projects to completion. By allocating 30.8 percent of the 2018 Budget to capital expenditure, the Federal Government is also demonstrating its strong commitment to investing in critical infrastructure capable of spurring growth and creating jobs in the Nigerian economy.

      Key capital spending allocations in the 2018 Budget include:

      a.    Power, Works and Housing: N555.88 billion;

      b.    Transportation: N263.10 billion;

      c.    Special Intervention Programmes: N150.00 billion;

      d.    Defence: N145.00 billion;

      e.    Agriculture and Rural Development N118.98 billion;

      f.     Water Resources: N95.11 billion;

      g.    Industry, Trade and Investment: N82.92 billion;

      h.    Interior: N63.26 billion;

      i.     Education N61.73 billion;

      j.     Universal Basic Education Commission: N109.06 billion;

      k.    Health: N71.11 billion;

      l.     Federal Capital Territory: N40.30 billion;

      m.  Zonal Intervention Projects N100.00 billion;

      n.    North East Intervention Fund N45.00 billion;

      o.    Niger Delta Ministry: N53.89 billion; and

      p.    Niger Delta Development Commission: N71.20 billion.

      As I had previously indicated, we aim to consolidate on our achievements in 2017. We shall meet our counterpart funding obligations. We shall complete all ongoing projects. And we shall carry forward all strategic projects that were budgeted for but which we were unable to kick start due to liquidity challenges, late passage of the budget, prolonged contractual negotiations, and other matters.

      Specifically, I would like to bring your attention to the following key projects and programmes that we are determined to implement in 2018:

      a.    N9.8 billion for the Mambilla hydro power project, including N8.5 billion as counterpart funding;

      b.    N12 billion counterpart funding for earmarked transmission lines and substations;

      c.    N35.41 billion for the National Housing Programme;

      d.    N10.00 billion for the 2nd Niger Bridge; and

      e.    About  N300 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of the strategic roads mentioned earlier.

      Consolidating on the Social Intervention Programme

      This Administration remains committed to pursuing a gender-sensitive, pro-poor and inclusive growth. We are keenly interested in catering for the most vulnerable. Accordingly, we have retained the 500 billion Naira allocation to the Social Intervention Programme. Under the programme, 100 billion Naira has been set aside for the Social Housing Programme.

      Government will also continue to implement the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme, as well as the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme in 2018. These initiatives are already creating jobs and economic opportunity for local farmers and cooks, providing funding to artisans, traders and youths, as well as supporting small businesses with business education and mentoring.

      Regional Spending Priorities for Peace, Security and Development

      To maintain peace and security in the Niger Delta for economic and social activities to thrive, the provision of 65 billion Naira for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been retained in the 2018 Budget. In addition, the capital provision for the Ministry of Niger Delta has been increased to 53.89 billion Naira from the 34.20 billion Naira provided in 2017. This is to further support the development in the region. We will complete all critical projects, including the East-West Road, which has a provision of about 17.32 billion Naira in 2018.

    2. Other highlights

    3. 33,000 Hectares of Irrigation Projects that have increased water availability in key food producing states  completed
    4. The federal government have established a 30 billion Naira Solid Minerals Development Fund to support other minerals exploration activities across the country.
    5.  Federal government to address any grievances in the Niger Delta through dialogue and peaceful engagement. Threats, intimidation or violence are never the answer.
    6. Federal government made provisions in the 2018 Budget for the costs of oversight and governance, to ensure effective implementation of  Ogoni Clean-up Project
    7.  Federal government invested an unprecedented sum of over 1.2 trillion Naira in capital projects through the 2016 Budget.
    8.  Additional US$500 million into the  Sovereign Wealth Fund
    9. e
    10. External reserves increased to US$34bn and a trade surplus of 506.5 billion Naira
    11. Abuja Metro-Rail Project  now 98% completed
    12.  Over 766 kilometres of roads constructed or rehabilitated across the country in 2017
    13. 100 billion Naira Sukuk Financing will cater specifically for the development of 25 roads across the country.
    14. Federal government approves Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) to raise 701 billion Naira.
    15. Federal Government to launch the first African Sovereign Green Bond in December 2017
    16.  Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line to be commissioned by September 2018
    17. Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Line to connect Apapa and Tin Can Port Complexes to be completed by December 2018
    18.  FG  to establish 6 Staple Crop Processing Zones
    19. Over 4.5 million Primary 1 to Primary 3 pupils in public schools are being fed under the School Feeding programme
    20. Over 200,000 unemployed graduates have been employed under the N-Power Scheme in education, health and agricultural sectors
    21.  Over 110,000 households are currently benefitting from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme across the country
    22. Total revenue of 5.084 trillion Naira was projected to fund aggregate expenditure of 7.441 trillion Naira. A projected fiscal deficit of 2.356 trillion Naira was to be financed mainly by domestic and external borrowing.
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