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NASS Jerks Up 2018 Budget To N9trn

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As the National Assembly prepares to pass the 2018 budget, there are indications that the Appropriation Act has been increased from the N8.612 proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari to N9.12 trillion.

This, in effect, means that the National Assembly increased the proposed budget by over N500 billion.

Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Hon Mutapha Dawaki, laid the committee’s report before the plenary.

Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Yusuf Sulaimon Lasun, who presided over the plenary, directed members to pick copies of the report, nothing that the House would sit this afternoon to consider the budget.

Lasun said: “From 8am tomorrow (today), members can pick up copies of the budget, and we will converge here tomorrow (today) and pass the budget. If we cannot finish it tomorrow, we will then come and conclude it on Thursday.”

LEADERSHIP recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 7 last year presented the N8.612 trillion 2018 budget to the National Assembly, indicating a 15 per cent scale back on total deficit at N2.005 trillion, down from N2.36 trillion stated in 2017 budget.

At a total expenditure estimate of N8.612 trillion, the deficit amounted to 1.77 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a 17.3 percentage point drop from 2.14 per cent deficit to the GDP stated in 2017 budget.

Of the N8.612 trillion proposed for 2018, 30.8 per cent (or N2.652 trillion) of the aggregate expenditure (inclusive of capital in statutory transfers) was allocated to the capital budget.

However, the National Assembly is set to pass a total sum of N9.12 trillion. Of this amount, N530.4 billion is for statutory transfers; N2.203 trillion is for debt service, out of which N190billion will go to Sinking Fund for maturing loans; N3,516 billion is for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, while N2,869 trillion is earmarked for capital projects.

Inflation Declines To 12.48%, Nears CBN Target

The rate at which prices of goods and services rise in the country has continued to drop as the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased by 12.48 percent in April 2018.

This is the 15th consecutive time the year-on-year inflation figure has dropped since it reached a high of 18.7 per cent in January last year. It dropped 0.86 percent points from 13.34 percent which was recorded in March this year.

At 12.48 percent, Nigeria’s inflation in April 2018 recorded the lowest rate in 26 months as both food and core items equally trended downwards. Ahead of the release of the numbers yesterday, analysts had projected that April inflation would trend below 13 percent, reflecting moderation in food prices and continued stability of the Naira.

They held that the consecutive improvement in inflation pressures would obviously provide some comfort for Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele and his team who see inflation easing to single digit in 2018 or lower double digits, at worst.

Increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yield the Headline Index. On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 0.83 percent in April 2018, down by 0.01 percent points from the rate recorded in March 2018.

The percentage change in the average composite CPI (Consumer Price Index) for the twelve-month period ending April 2018 over the average of the CPI for the previous12-month period was 15.20 percent, showing 0.40 percent difference.

The urban inflation rate eased by 12.89 percent (year-on-year) in April 2018 from 13.75 percent recorded in March, while the rural inflation rate also eased by 12.13 percent in April 2018 from 12.99 percent in March.

On month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 0.85 percent in April 2018, down by 0.01 from 0.86 percent recorded in March, while the rural index also rose by 0.82 percent in April 2018, recording no change from the figure obtained in March (0.82) percent.

The corresponding twelve-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index is 15.47 percent in April 2018. This is less than 15.87 percent reported in March, while the corresponding rural inflation rate in April 2018 is 14.95 percent compared to 15.34 percent recorded in March.

The Composite Food Index rose by 14.80 percent in April 2018. The rise in the index was caused by increases in prices of potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, bread and cereals, oil and fats, vegetables and meat.

On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 0.91 percent in April 2018, up by 0.01 percent points from 0.90 percent recorded in March.

The average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the 12-month period ending April 2018 over the previous twelve-month average was 18.89 percent, 0.4 percent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in March (19.29) percent.

The rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, bread and cereals, oil and fats, vegetables, coffee, tea and cocoa, meat, milk, cheese and eggs.

The ‘’All Items less Farm Produce’’ or Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce, is 10.9 percent in April 2018, down by 0.3 percent points from the rate recorded in March (11.2 percent).

On a month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 0.87 percent in April 2018. This was up by 0.03 percent when compared with 0.84 percent recorded in March. The average 12-month annual rate of change of the index was 12.02 percent for the 12-month period ending April 2018; this is 0.31 percent points lower than 12.33 percent recorded in March.

The highest increases were recorded in prices of fuel and lubricants for personal transport equipment, vehicle spare parts, garments and clothing materials and other articles of clothing and clothing accessories, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishment, paramedical services and pharmaceutical products.



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