2020 Budget Presentation In Photos

PHOTOS: Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday presented the budget for the 2020 fiscal year to the joint session of the National Assembly.

While presenting the budget, the president described it as a budget of Fiscal Consolidation to strengthen Nigeria’s macroeconomic environment; investing in critical infrastructure, human capital development and enabling institutions, especially in key job-creating sectors.

See photos below.

Buhari Is ‘Extremely’ Concerned About Nigerian Workers, Unemployed – Enang

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters, Senator Ita Enang, says President Muhammadu Buhari is extremely worried about Nigerian workers and the unemployed.

He stated this on Wednesday during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“President Buhari’s administration is extremely concerned about not just the Nigerian workers but those who are qualified to be employed and are not yet employed.

“And of course, the Federal Government is also committed to those who are unemployed. That is why you have the Ministry of Labour is called the Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity,” he stated.

While noting that it is impossible for the government to engage every Nigerian into the civil service, he, however, stated that the current administration is working hard to address the unemployment challenge.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters, Senator Ita Enang.

READ ALSO: Imo Senatorial Elections: Okorocha Petitions INEC Over Withholding Certificate Of Return

He noted that Buhari’s government has created a business-friendly environment and policies that would help the private and public sectors to strive.

When asked if his principal’s absence will affect the 2019 budget from being signed into law, the presidential aide responded in the negative.

He explained that though the Senate has passed the budget, the House of Representatives is yet to do so.

According to Enang, once it is passed by both chambers of the National Assembly, the Clerk would compare notes to ensure that figures tally before transmitting it to the President for assent.

Despite the challenge notwithstanding, Enang insisted saying, “the President is on duty.”

‘Politicking’ Responsible For Delayed 2019 Budget Passage – Senator Ogbuoji

The Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sunday Ogbuoji, says politicking by politicians in preparation for the general elections was responsible for the delay in the passage of the 2019 budget.

He stated this on Tuesday while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, a few hours after the Senate passed the budget.

“You will recall also that the date for the passage of this budget is slightly delayed because of in-between from the time the budget was submitted, we have been busy as politicians politicking, most people running for offices hoping to come back to the Senate and other offices.

“So that might account for the delay in releasing the budget. All the same, I think we did a job that we can boldly say should approximate to what the Executive brought to the National Assembly,” he stated.

READ ALSO: Senate Passes N8.916trn 2019 Budget

While thanking Nigerians for their support, he noted that the National Assembly did not tamper with the benchmark for the budget as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari in December last year.

The Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sunday Ogbuoji.

“I want to thank Nigerians that finally we are through with politicking and we are back properly into governance.

We tried to do as much as possible around what the Executive brought to the National Assembly.  You can see that the budget that we passed, we never touched the benchmark,” he said.

When asked of Nigerians’ expectations after the passage, the lawmaker stated that the budget will be transmitted back to President Buhari for his assent.

He explained that after the President would have signed it into law, it’s the responsibility for the Executive arm of government to see to the full implementation of the budget.

Ogbuoji believes that once the budget is fully executed especially on the capital side, the nation’s economy will be positioned for growth.

Senate Passes N8.916trn 2019 Budget

Senate Passes N8.916trn 2019 Budget

 

The Senate has passed the 2019 Appropriation Bill of N8.916 trillion.

This is N86 billion higher than the proposal of N8.83 trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly for the 2019 fiscal year.

The lawmakers passed the bill during Tuesday’s plenary after considering the report of the Senate Committee on Appropriations on the 2019 Appropriation Bill presented by Senator Danjuma Goje.

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A breakdown of the budget estimate reveals that statutory transfer is N502.58 billion, N2.25 trillion is for debt servicing, recurrent expenditure gets N4.65 trillion, and N2.94 trillion is earmarked for capital expenditure.

Following the consideration of the report submitted by Senator Goje, the lawmakers resolved to approve the total sum of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

They also adopted the recommendation of the Appropriations Committee which proposed that N10 billion be added to the service-wide votes to support the victims of crises in Zamfara State.

Thereafter, the Senate dissolved into the Committee of Supply for the consideration of the 2019 Appropriation Bill

The bill was then read the third time and passed by the lawmakers.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, commended his colleagues for the efforts that led to the passage of the bill and called for its complete implementation by the Executive.

He said, “I want to thank our colleagues, particularly for their understanding and for us to be able to meet today’s deadline in passing the bill and (I) thank the Committee on Appropriation too.”

“I hope that with this budget passed, the Executive will also ensure the full implementation of the budget for the benefit of Nigerians as a whole,” Senator Saraki added.

President Buhari presented the 2019 budget proposal to the National Assembly amid cheers and jeers on December 19, 2018.

Reps To Pass 2019 Budget Before End Of Next Week

Reps To Pass 2019 Budget Before End Of Next Week
House Committee Deputy Chairman on Rules and Business, Olabode Ayorinde.

 

The House of Representatives will pass the 2019 Appropriation Bill before the end of next week.

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Olabode Ayorinde, said this during an interview on Tuesday in Abuja,

He told Channels Television at the end of plenary that he was optimistic that the lawmakers would pass the bill latest by next week.

READ ALSOSaraki Gives Senate Committee Thursday To Submit Report

Ayorinde noted that the resumption of plenary in the House immediately after the Easter break was proof of its resolve to the passage of the bill.

He added that members of the House Committee on Appropriations were absent at the proceedings because they were busy with the completion of the processes.

The lawmaker gave assurance that the House was committed to passing the budget and other responsibilities before the end of the eighth assembly.

2019 Budget: Saraki Gives Senate Committee Thursday To Submit Report

2019 Budget: Saraki Gives Senate Committee Thursday To Submit Report
A file photo of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

 

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has asked the Senate Committee on Appropriations to submit its report on the 2019 Appropriation Bill by Thursday.

He gave the deadline on Tuesday during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

Senator Saraki had asked the members of the Appropriations Committee to brief the lawmakers on the progress of other committees on the report.

READ ALSO2019 Budget: Senate Committee Fails To Submit Report, Gets Additional Week

In his response, the Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Sunny Ogbuoji, disclosed that just 24 committees have submitted their reports.

The Senate President, who was displeased with the response he got, informed the committees to submit their report to the Appropriations Committee by Wednesday.

He also told Senator Ogbuoji to go ahead with the executive submission for any committee that fails to submit its report as scheduled.

“It is unfortunate that only 24 committees have submitted their Reports. All committees should submit their reports,” Senator Saraki said. “Those that do not submit, the Appropriations Committee should use the executive submission.”

He added, “I want to appeal to the other committees that they have till tomorrow (Wednesday) to make sure that their report gets you (Ogbuoji). By Thursday, we must get this report here.

“If they don’t get this report to your committee by tomorrow, then just use the executive submission.”

The deadline came one week after the Appropriations Committee failed to lay its report following a deadline of April 2, 2019.

Senator Ogbuoji had said some committees were yet to submit their reports as those that have submitted were not up to 10.

2019 Budget: Senate Committee Fails To Submit Report, Gets Additional Week

2019 Budget: Senate Committee Fails To Submit Report, Gets Additional Week

 

The Senate Committee on Appropriation has failed to lay its report on the 2019 Appropriation Bill after a deadline of April 2, 2019.

The Deputy Chairman of the committee, Senator Sunny Ogbuoji, explained why the report was not ready during Tuesday’s plenary at the upper house of the National Assembly in Abuja.

He addressed his colleagues after the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, asked the committee to brief the Senate on when the budget would be fully ready.

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Senator Ogbuoji said some committees were yet to submit their reports as those that have submitted were not up to 10.

“Our report is not ready because some committees are yet to submit their reports. For now, we have less than 10 committees that have submitted.”

“Any committee that refuses to submit its report by Friday, we will empower the committee to go with the Executive submission,” the lawmaker stated.

He further asked the Senate to give the Appropriation Committee an additional week to allow the other committees yet to submit their reports do so.

In his response, the Senate President granted the request and asked the senators to expedite work on the 2019 Budget.

He said the lawmakers were committed to ensuring that the budget was read and passed for the third time before they embark on the Easter break.

“All committees should submit their budgets by Friday,” Senator Saraki directed.” The Senate should reconvene by April 9, so that the budget will be laid either on the 9th, 10th, 11th.”

He added, “We will suspend plenary till the 9th of April. The Report should be ready by Friday.”

The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, thereafter moved that plenary be adjourned till Tuesday next week to enable the subcommittees to work on the budget.

Senators Debate 2019 Budget Funding, As Others Seek Speedy Passage

Senators Debate 2019 Budget Funding, As Others Seek Speedy Passage
Lawmakers during plenary in the Senate on March 13, 2019. Photo: Twitter- @NGRSenate

 

The Senate has commenced the debate on the 2019 Budget with some lawmakers demanding its speedy passage while others asked the Federal Government to be cautious with its borrowing plans.

This followed a motion sponsored on Wednesday by the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, for an act to authorise the issuance of N8,826,636,578,915 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

Some of the senators were worried about the nation’s debt profile and warned the government to ensure that the country’s debt to GDP ratio does not go beyond acceptable levels.

READ ALSO: At Least 24 Victims Rescued From Rubble Of Collapsed Building, Nine Dead

In his contrition, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, decried what he described as the late presentation of the budget by the executive, saying it often leads to little time for implementation.

“I will like to address the issue of our debt profile,” said the lawmaker. “It is important to address our infrastructural needs in the nation, but I believe there are other ways to fund this asides debt.”

He added, “Another issue is that the Executive usually presents the budget late in the year, giving the National Assembly little time to deliberate on the budget, thereby leaving very little time for implementation.

“It is important that we discipline ourselves and correct this in the future.”

On his part, Senator Ali Ndume, urged his colleagues not to delay the passage of the budget any longer as time was not on their side.

According to him, Nigerians are anxious about the budget and the Executive is waiting to implement it.

“I am appealing that we try our best to pass the budget before the end of this month.

“Let us set that target so that anything else comes up as a supplementary budget or an amendment to the already passed budget,” he said.

The Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Nallah, was part of the members who gave a contrary view, saying that the country’s borrowing was still within acceptable limits.

He urged the National Assembly to fix a date to critically look at the funding of agriculture in the country as opposed to other sectors, stressing that providing food for the people was very important to any nation.

In their separate remarks, Senator Bassey Akpan agreed on the need for the expeditious passage of the budget while Senator Barnabas Gemade called for the blockage of government’s revenue leakages.

Senator Gemade further identified funding as an area that affects budget implementation the most and called for an end to fuel subsidy in the nation.

He said, “Every government that comes into power speaks of abolishing subsidy but does nothing about it for fear of not being re-elected and this has to stop.

“There should be a removal of the subsidy completely. Manufacturing of products within the country should be promoted as this is sure to create more jobs. It is also important that if we must move forward as a people, there should be no incentive given to criminals.”

Also worried about how the budget would be funded, Senator Dino Melaye said, “We have to look at the state of our economy vis-a-vis the allocations in the budget. There is a drop in the revenue of the Nigeria Customs and there are barely any foreign investments.”

“In the midst of the outrageous calamity in this nation, how do we fund the 2019 budget? Should we borrow again or fund it from daily contributions?” The lawmaker queried.

After listening to the debate on the budget, Senate President Bukola Saraki adjourned the matter till the next legislative day.

Ambode Presents N852.13bn 2019 Budget Proposal To Lagos Assembly

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode

 

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has presented N852.13bn as the 2019 budget proposal to the state House of Assembly.

The governor in his presentation on Tuesday said that the budget is projected to consolidate on the economic gains made so far by capitalising on realistic, budget-friendly programmes and projects.

He explained that the projected total revenue for 2019 is N775.231billion, of which N606.291billion is expected to be generated internally.

According to him, N168.940billion is expected from Federal Transfers while a total of N77.086billion will be sourced through deficit financing within our medium-term expenditure framework.

“We are confident that the revenues of the State will improve this year by consolidating on the already established public financial management and technology-driven revenue reforms; through data integration and use of multi-payment channels”.

Read Full Breakdown Below:

YEAR 2019 BUDGET PRESENTATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. AKINWUNMI AMBODE, GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE AT THE CHAMBERS OF LAGOS STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, ALAUSA, ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH, 2019.

PROTOCOL

In the last three years I have had the honour of presenting the budget of our State to this Hallowed Chamber and each time, I have come with the enthusiasm and energy to meet our partners in the continuous work for the progress and development of our State. It is with the same enthusiasm that I am here again today to present the year 2019 Budget.

READ ALSOAmbode Proposes N852.317bn Budget For 2019

Each time I have come here, we have been accorded a very warm and cordial reception by this Honourable House and for this, we are very grateful. This House has been a solid partner in progress and none of the achievements recorded in our State in the past Three and Half years could have been possible without the support and cooperation of this Eighth Assembly.

Rt. Hon. Speaker, I have been very privileged to have worked with this House and there is no bill we have brought forward that has not been given favourable consideration.

That is the secret of the success of Lagos State; the cooperation between the different arms of government and our unity of purpose to make life better for all our people.

From the inception of this administration, we focused our attention on Nine core Function Groups which are a reflection of our priorities and the needs assessments of the Citizenry. These areas include Security, Transport / Traffic management, Economy – including Tourism and Agriculture, Housing, Education, Health, Infrastructure – Social and Physical, Water, Wealth Creation – Skill Acquisition/Microfinance, E-Governance and Enhanced Capacity Building, Sustainable Environment and Smart City projects.

In the outgoing year, however, we experienced a reduction in our revenue projections, which affected our projected performance and our desired implementation of the Y2018 Budget. The overall Budget performance as at November 2018 stood at 60%/₦574,206billion with actual cumulative total revenue of ₦530,192billion/64%, Capital Expenditure closed at ₦311,930billion/49% and Recurrent Expenditure performed at ₦262,276billion/82%.

In preparing the Year 2019 Budget, therefore, we were very mindful of the out-going year performance, the yearnings of our people and the fact that we are going into an election year. Consequently, we are today presenting a Budget that will be all-encompassing, reflect the level of resources that will be available and with special consideration to the completion of major on-going projects in the State.

Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, with our priority on completion of major infrastructure projects and smooth transition to the next administration, we are are happy to propose a Year 2019 budget of ₦852,316,936,483, (852.317billion) including a deficit financing of N77.086bn which is expected to be sourced from internal loans and other sources.

Consequently, the 2019 Budget is projected to consolidate on the economic gains made so far by capitalising on realistic, budget-friendly programmes and projects.

This proposed budget has the following key components:
Recurrent Expenditure ₦ 389.560bn
Capital Expenditure ₦ 462.757bn
Capital/Recurrent Ratio 54:46

The projected total revenue for Year 2019 is ₦775.231billion, of which ₦606.291billion is expected to be generated internally, ₦168.940billion is expected from Federal Transfers while a total of ₦77.086billion will be sourced through deficit financing within our medium-term expenditure framework. The breakdown of the allocations is as follows will be rendered by the Ministry of Budget and Planning and Finance subsequently.

In 2019, as was with our previous budgets, Economic Affairs still dominates the sectoral allocation of the proposed budget. This is due to our continued focus on the completion of major on-going projects such as: Oshodi-Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road; Agege Pen Cinema Flyover; Phase II of Aradagun-Iworo -Epeme Road, Oshodi Interchange Terminal; completion of JK Randle Complex, Onikan Stadium; Imota Rice Mill; Renovation/Furnishing of Lagos Revenue House, amongst others in order to meet their specified deliverable outcomes without any bias or prejudice to others.

We are confident that the revenues of the State will improve this year by consolidating on the already established public financial management and technology-driven revenue reforms; through data integration and use of multi-payment channels.

Mr Speaker and Honourable members, the Year 2019 Budget has been carefully planned to accommodate all and sundry; women, youth and physically challenged, young and old. We will continue to spread development to all part of our state even as we embark on effective transition knowing fully well that the implementation, failure or success of the Budget depend on all of us.

Before I round up this speech, I want to appreciate the influence, support and advocacy of our Royal Fathers and Religious leaders; the cooperation of members of the Business Community, Professional Bodies, Development Partners, Non-Governmental Organisations; the great Public Servants; all residents of our State and members of the fourth realm for their various support and contribution during the lifespan of our administration; we could not have achieved this much without you.

I again salute the Rt. Honourable Speaker and all the Honourable members of this House; for their contributions, unalloyed support and cooperation accorded to this Administration in ensuring that governance in Lagos is not only peaceful but devoid of rancour and agitation.

Thank you for making it easy for us to serve. Thank you for your unflinching support in the last three and half years. As you go into the elections, I wish you all great successes across the State.
Thank you for your attention.

Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko Lo Je wa Logun!!

Akinwunmi Ambode
Governor of Lagos State

2019 Budget Will Be Dedicated To Completing Ongoing Projects – Ambode

 

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has said that the 2019 budget of the State would be dedicated towards the completion of ongoing infrastructural projects, creation of more jobs, supporting businesses to thrive, as well as strengthening the security architecture of the State.

The governor while speaking on Monday at an event said it was gratifying that a lot of provisions had been made for capital projects in the 2019 federal budget, the State Government would also concentrate on scaling up infrastructure, among other programmes to enhance growth and development.

Alluding to the positive economic projections for Nigeria in 2019 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Governor Ambode said Lagos, on a stand-alone basis in the year under reference, would achieve four percent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that the social intervention initiatives of both the State and Federal Governments would also go a long way to facilitate serious reduction in the unemployment rate.

“The economic outlook for 2019 is quite positive. A lot of provisions have been made for capital projects in the 2019 Federal Budget, some of which will directly impact the economy of our State and will support our growth plans. On our part, we will concentrate on completing existing infrastructural projects, creating more jobs, supporting our businesses to thrive and strengthening our security infrastructure.

“According to IMF, the Nigeria GDP will grow from 1.9% in 2018 to 2.8% in 2019. Lagos on a stand-alone basis will achieve over 4% growth in GDP and this could be more if the congestion at the port and the negative effect this has on the economy is addressed. We expect that the high rate of unemployment will reduce with various social intervention programmes of the State and Federal governments geared towards financial inclusion and liquidity support to micro, small and medium enterprises,” the Governor said.

While recalling the activities of his administration in the last three and half years, Governor Ambode said it was particularly fulfilling that the State had made tremendous progress in all sectors of the economy and had become more globally competitive and strategically positioned among the major City-States worldwide.

“Three and a half years down the line, our State has progressed in all sectors of the economy. We have charted a clear path to the destination we have all dreamt about and desired. Today, our Lagos has become more globally competitive and strategically positioned among the major City-States of the world. Our State has become a top destination for business and tourism and it can only get better.

“One of the key promises I made at my inauguration on May 29th, 2015 was to make our State work for all; to spread development from the already congested City centre to other parts of the State with massive infrastructural development. The thinking has been to make every part of the State economically liveable.

“We have undertaken projects in all sectors of the economy with the sole intention of making life better for our people. All of these and similar initiatives were made possible by the personal taxes of high net worth residents of our State represented at this gathering which account for a significant percentage of our IGR and I want to use this opportunity to thank you so much for providing the resources, which have empowered us to make a positive difference in the lives of all citizens of our State,” he said.

Governor Ambode further stated that it was obvious that the State could not afford a break in trajectory of progressive governance at this point in time, and urged the people to continue to support the ruling party in the State.

He cited the recently launched Lagos Health Insurance Scheme designed to guarantee access to quality healthcare delivery for all Lagosians, saying it was instructive that the Bill for the scheme was signed into law by his predecessor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, while the process for its implementation was kick-started by his administration.

“This is the beauty in continuity and we have the assurances of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State that the initiative will be sustained.

“Lagos State cannot afford the risk of a break in the trajectory of progressive governance at this crucial stage of development. The future is bright and assured. We must maintain continuity of progress in the State,” he said.

Governor Ambode also commended the clubs for their immense contributions to the development of the State, and charged them to continue to play key part in taking Lagos into a brighter and more prosperous future.

In their respective addresses, Chairman of Island Club, Mr. Olabanji Oladapo and his counterpart in Yoruba Tennis Club, Professor Adetokunbo Fabamwo commended Governor Ambode for the various infrastructural projects executed in the clubs, saying it was laudable that the Governor kept his promise.

Nigeria Needs A Government Which Understands How To Run The Economy – Atiku (Full Statement)

Nigeria Needs A Government Which Understands How To Run The Economy – Atiku (Full Statement)
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (file)

 

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, believes only a government that understands how to run the economy can save the country from its challenges.

Atiku said this in a piece on Sunday entitled ‘My Takeaways From Budget 2019’.

In the critique, the former vice president faulted the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s budget proposal for 2019.

According to him, the proposal is “fundamentally flawed” and built on a “very shaky foundation”.

President Buhari had presented a budget proposal of N8.83 trillion for 2019 to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 19, 2018.


READ ALSO
Buhari Proposes N8.8trn Budget For 2019
2019 Budget Is Built On A Very Shaky Foundation – Atiku


Read the full review of the 2019 budget proposal by Atiku below;

President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2019 Budget Proposals to the Joint Session of the National Assembly on Wednesday 20 December 2018. Its key aim is to, according to the President, ‘further place the economy on the path of inclusive, diversified and sustainable growth in order to continue to lift significant numbers of our citizens out of poverty’. The 2019 Appropriation Bill proposes an aggregate expenditure of N8.83 trillion for the year of which N4.04 trillion is recurrent, N2.31 trillion capital and N2.14 trillion will be devoted to debt service. The planned spending is lower than the 2018 budget by N300 billion. Allowing for 11% inflation rate, its real value is N7.95 trillion.

The proposed budget as presented is fundamentally flawed. It deliberately ignores and fails to address current realities and pretends, as Mr President asserts, ‘we are on the right direction’. On the contrary, the 2019 budget is built on a very shaky foundation and makes very generous, often wild and untenable assumptions which pose significant risks to its implementation. It will be a disservice to the country if we ignore these fundamental flaws.

Several inaccurate claims litter the budget document – all, I think, in an attempt for Mr President to whitewash the regime and hide their monumental failure to improve, even minimally, the welfare and living standards of much of the population. I see the rhetoric of ‘inclusive, diversified and sustainable growth’ as no more than an amplification of the APC-led government’s renewed propaganda to hoodwink the citizens into believing that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

Few of these claims by Mr. President are that ‘we have recorded several successes in economic management’, that ‘the economy has recovered from recession’, that  ‘foreign capital inflows including direct and portfolio investments (have) responded to improved economic management and that ‘we have had a sustained accretion to foreign exchange reserves’ etc.

In reality, the economy is yet to recover from the 2016/2017 recession as it remains SEVERELY STRESSED, extremely fragile and vulnerable to external shocks. GDP growth declined from 2.11% in 2017 to 1.9% in Q1 and to 1.5% in Q2 of 2018. In Q3 of 2018, there was only a marginal increase of 0.3% to 1.8%.

In its current form, the local economy is not dynamic enough to journey to their so-called NEXT LEVEL.  For the year 2019, a general slowdown in the real growth rates of economic activity in both the oil and non-oil sectors has been projected at 1.9% by the World Bank. This rate is well below the 2019 budget projection of 3.01% and is not enough to create the needed jobs for the growing population of the country or for the attainment of the SDGs.

As a sign of the weakness of the economy, the rate of unemployment has increased from 18.8% in 2017 to 23.1% in Q3 of 2018. Today, close to 20 million people are unemployed compared to 7.2 million people in 2014. These high rates of unemployment represent both a significant distortion in the economic system and a lost opportunity for critical national development and could potentially threaten social stability.

Sadly, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is limited and is declining. In Q3, 2018 capital inflows were US$2.855.21 billion showing a decrease of 48.21% compared to Q2 2018 and 31.12% decrease compared to Q3 2017. Indeed, its current level is the lowest since Q2, 2017. Value of Foreign Portfolio recorded at US$1.7 billion represents a decrease of 58.2% compared to Q2 2018. It also represents a 37.7% decrease compared to the Q3 of 2017.

Finally, it is very significant to note that capital importation in 2014 (Q3) was US$6.5 billion and in 2018 (Q3) US$2.9 billion. This shows US$3.6 billion or 55% decline since the regime came into power.

So, contrary to Mr President’s assertion, capital importation actually shrinks! In reality, Mr President should expect no less. It is a fact that under his watch and resulting from his actions or inactions, investor confidence in the economy has waned like never before in Nigeria’s history.  Nigeria remains an uncompetitive economy as demonstrated by the recent World Economic Forum (WEF), Global Competitiveness Index which positions Nigeria as 115th of 140 Countries.  The Report shows that Nigeria has moved three places down, contrary to Mr President’s claim that ‘we are moving in the right direction’.  Nigeria remains one of the most difficult places to do business as evidenced by the massive outflows of capital in recent times.

Yes, we have seen some increases in gross reserves. However, the so-called ‘successes’ recorded did not emanate from any coherent and comprehensive economic policies of the Federal Government. The ‘sustained accretion’ to foreign exchange reserves resulted from increases in international prices of Brent Crude and foreign borrowing. Given our total dependence on the oil sector for foreign exchange earnings, any turbulence in the international oil market will lead to reversals.

This cannot be counted as ‘success’. The acclaimed ‘success’ was simply by the Grace of God.

Even Mr President’s acclaimed successes in agriculture can be interrogated.  In spite of the so-called ‘increased investment across the entire value chain from agricultural inputs to farming and ultimately, food processing’, agricultural growth is well below historical levels.  The growth in agricultural production declined from 3.48% in Q3 2015 to 1.91% in Q3 2018. Similarly, in 2018, growth has been declining from 3% in Q1, to 1.19% in Q2 and 1.91% in Q3. There is little evidence to show that ‘increased investment’ in agriculture has yielded positive results.

This brings us to what the key question is: can the 2019 budget place the economy on the path of inclusive, diversified and sustainable growth in order to continue to lift significant numbers of our citizens out of poverty as PMB claims?

Here are 6 reasons why it cannot.

First, the 2019 (budget) is built on a very shaky foundation. It seeks to consolidate on the ‘achievements’ and ‘successes’ of the 2018 budget. However, the 2018 budget was itself poorly implemented. Actual revenue collected was only N2.84 trillion (as at September 2018) against projected revenue of N7.17 trillion. This implied that as at September 2018, only approximately 40% of projected revenues were realized by the Federal Government. Similarly, by December 14, 2018, only N820.57 billion was released for capital spending out of a projected expenditure of N2.652 trillion. This implied that only 31% of the capital budget was implemented. This would impact negatively on growth, jobs and poverty.

With such a dismal budget performance, the economy would NOT have had the capacity to grow, generate wealth and jobs.

Secondly, the 2019 budget is business as usual budget. The Federal Government keeps repeating the same mistakes BUT expects different results. For example, although the current resource position remains precarious, government does not intend to introduce significant fiscal restructuring. Thus, in spite of dwindling revenues, subsidy on PMS will continue (US$1 billion is budgeted for that); Government does not intend to introduce any reforms in the foreign exchange market as multiple exchange rates will be maintained – thus given away between ₦300 billion and ₦800 billion to opportunists, rent-seekers, middlemen, arbitrageurs, and fraudsters; and finally, the budget is overwhelmingly recurrent, with capital spending taking the back seat.

Thirdly, 2019 Budget is based on grossly exaggerated assumptions. They are NOT able to put in place any coherent and comprehensive policies to give hope that these assumptions can be met. For example, the Oil price benchmark has been pegged at $60 per barrel and domestic oil production will be maintained at 2.3 million barrels per day.  Of recent, the oil market has been turbulent, and Brent Crude sells at less than US$60. There are projections of over-supply resulting from US shale production and pressure on Saudi by the US not to cut production. With regards to local production, we all know that throughout 2018, average production was 1.95 million barrels per day. Indeed, the latest report from OPEC suggests that Nigeria will be required to cut production to 1.65 million barrels per day. This implies that revenue targets to implement the budget will not be met.

The most laughable assumption is that real GDP will grow at 3.01 per cent. When indeed, GDP growth has been sluggish, with a projection of 1.9% in 2019. The government cannot cut spending and expect the economy to grow.

Fourthly and very fundamentally, 2019 Budget is very small. The size of the budget is not sufficient to stimulate the growth of the economy, create jobs and alleviate poverty. The planned total expenditure of N8.83 trillion is lower than 2018 budget by approximately N290 billion. The Federal Government is contracting the economy whereas, in a period of recession, governments MUST spend more to have a meaningful impact on jobs and poverty.

The budget is also very low in relation to the size of the Nigerian economy, which is estimated at approximately N150 trillion. This means that the 2019 budget is barely 6% of GDP. (Compare Bangladesh 15.30%, India 12.74% and Afghanistan 11.9% in 2017). Again, this will have no meaningful impact on jobs and poverty.

Fifthly, Nigeria’s fiscal crisis persists and fiscal position of the Federal Government, and by extension, the states and local governments remain precarious. First, projected revenues of N6.97 trillion are 3% lower than 2018 and second, the oil sector continues its dominance as it contributes 54% of the budget revenues. The non-oil sector is expected to contribute only 20% of the budget revenues. There are no coherent and comprehensive plans to expand the resource horizon of the Federal Government.

As a result of the brewing fiscal crisis, the budget deficit remains high at N1.86 trillion. This is equivalent to 21% of the budget and 1.3% of GDP. The implication is that the Federal Government will need to borrow more in 2018 to implement the budget. Debt Service is already putting a strain on government revenues.  The sum of N2.14 trillion has been provided for debt service. This means that 30% of projected revenue will be used in debt service.

Six, as has been with previous budgets, recurrent costs and debt service will take a lion share of the budget as against capital expenditure. Capital expenditure will be only 23% of planned expenditure. On the other hand, 24% of the budget will be spent on debt service and 46% on overhead and personnel costs. Thus over 70% of the budget will be devoted to recurrent costs and debt service. This will not grow the economy and create jobs.

It is, therefore, putting it mildly to say that the 2019 proposed budget is not developmental, will not pull Nigeria from the abyss and may, indeed accentuate the misery and hopelessness the Nigerian people have lived with since 2015.

There must be an alternative to this Budget. Nigeria needs a government which understands how to run the economy in order to Get Nigeria Working Again. Fortunately for the country, the Atiku/Obi team has exactly that capacity and experience.

For the avoidance of doubt, an Atiku Presidency, come 2019, will present to Nigerians a people’s budget that will prioritize and focus on the twin challenges of unemployment and poverty. Nigeria’s high rates of unemployment, poverty and inequality represent both a significant distortion in the economic system and a lost opportunity for critical national development and could potentially threaten social stability.

Resolving these thorny issues requires a significant departure from the APC-led government’s ways of doing things. #TheAtikuPlan will accelerate growth rather than contract the economy to steer Nigeria out of recession and to create opportunities for our youth to be self-employed.  The private sector will be a critical driver of economic growth and #TheAtikuPlan will, therefore, act expeditiously to create a supportive and enabling environment for businesses to invest and thrive.

We shall disrupt and improve the budgeting process to facilitate more effective budget impact on the economy by increasing, significantly, the share of capital expenditure in the budget to a minimum of 40% in the first instance. To facilitate increased capital spending, we shall improve spending efficiency by cutting on recurrent expenses, by ensuring the judicious utilization of all borrowed funds for economic diversification and infrastructural development and by promoting more Public-Private Partnerships in critical infrastructure funding.

#TheAtikuPlan recognises that Nigeria’s current unprecedented fiscal crises, characterized by rising debt levels and revenue shortfalls, have resulted largely from APC-led government’s poor management of resources. We shall, therefore, undertake significant fiscal re-structuring including a review of the current subsidy regime and of the monumental losses to the economy arising from leakages from the operation of the foreign exchange market, in order to channel resources into the critical sectors of the economy.

#TheAtikuPlan Will Get Nigeria Working Again.

Atiku Abubakar is former Vice President of Nigeria and Presidential candidate of the PDP.

2019 Budget Is Built On A Very Shaky Foundation – Atiku

2019 Budget Is Built On Very Shaky Foundation – Atiku
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (file)

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says the proposed budget of the Muhammadu Buhari administration for 2019 is built on a ‘shaky foundation’.

He said this in a critique entitled ‘My Takeaways from Budget 2019’ obtained by Channels Television on Sunday.

The proposed budget as presented is fundamentally flawed,” said the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “It deliberately ignores and fails to address current realities and pretends, as Mr President asserts, ‘we are on the right direction.”

He added, “On the contrary, the 2019 budget is built on a very shaky foundation and makes very generous, often wild and untenable assumptions which pose significant risks to its implementation.”

President Buhari had presented a budget proposal of N8.83 trillion for 2019 to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 19, 2018.


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The former vice president believes it will be a disservice to the nation if the “fundamental flaws” are ignored.

He accused the Presidency of filling the budget proposal with several inaccurate claims and making attempts to hide its failure to improve the welfare and living standards of Nigerians.

“I see the rhetoric of ‘inclusive, diversified and sustainable growth’ as no more than an amplification of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government’s renewed propaganda to hoodwink the citizens into believing that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel,” Atiku alleged.

According to him, the economy has yet to recover from the 2016/2017 recession as it remains “severely stressed, extremely fragile and vulnerable to external shocks.”

The PDP candidate said the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth declined from 2.11 per cent in 2017 to 1.9 per cent in Q1, and to 1.5 per cent in Q2 of 2018.

He, however, noted an increase of 0.3 per cent to 1.8 per cent in Q3 of 2018.

“In reality, Mr President should expect no less. It is a fact that under his watch and resulting from his actions or inactions, investor confidence in the economy has waned like never before in Nigeria’s history,” Atiku alleged.

He added, “Nigeria remains an uncompetitive economy as demonstrated by the recent World Economic Forum (WEF), Global Competitiveness Index which positions Nigeria as 115th of 140 Countries.

“The Report shows that Nigeria has moved three places down, contrary to Mr President’s claim that ‘we are moving in the right direction’. Nigeria remains one of the most difficult places to do business as evidenced by the massive outflows of capital in recent times.”

On the way forward, the former vice president called for an alternative to the government’s budget proposal.

The country, according to him, needs a government which understands how to run the economy in order to get it working again.

Atiku stressed that his administration has the capacity and experience Nigeria needed to get on the right path.

He said, “For the avoidance of doubt, an Atiku Presidency, come 2019, will present to Nigerians a people’s budget that will prioritise and focus on the twin challenges of unemployment and poverty.”

“Nigeria’s high rates of unemployment, poverty and inequality represent both a significant distortion in the economic system and a lost opportunity for critical national development and could potentially threaten social stability.”