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FG To Borrow N1.64trn For 2018 Budget Deficit

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The federal government has pencilled down a plan to borrow a total of N1.643 trillion to fund the deficit in the 2018 budget that was passed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
The minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, explained that the projected deficit was within the threshold stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007.
A breakdown of the total figure shows that the Federal Government planning to borrow N793 billion from domestic market, and another N849 billion from foreign sources.
The budget signed by President Buhari provides for aggregate expenditures of N9.12 trillion, which is 22.6% higher than the 2017 Appropriation.

Speaking at the breakdown of the budget details in Abuja yesterday, Udoma said the federal government hopes to raise N306 billion from privatisation and N5 billion from the sale of government property in order to finance the deficit component of the N9.12 trillion budget.
The minister also noted that the federal government had grown the size of the budget from 4.7 per cent in 2015 to 8 per cent in 2018, while the capital spending in total budget had also increased from 12 percent in 2015 to 32 per cent in 2018.
Giving the breakdown, he said N520 billion was for Statutory Transfer; Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) got N115.86 billion; National Judicial Council, N110 billion; Universal Basic Education (UBEC), N109 billion, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), N45.5 billion; National Assembly, N139.5billion, Public Complaints Commission, N7.48 billion and National Human Rights Commission, N3.01 billion.

The ministries that have the highest allocation, both capital and current, are: Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, N715 billion; Ministry of Interior, N577 billion; Defence, N576 billion; Education, N542 billion and Health, N356 billion.
Udoma said that the government plans to continue to spend more on ongoing infrastructure projects that have the potential for job creation and inclusive growth.
“We will continue to leverage private capital and counterpart funding for the delivery of infrastructure projects,” he said, adding that, as with 2016 and 2017 budgets, the 2018 budget had been prepared on the Zero Based Budget (ZBB) principles.
Udoma further stated that the government would deploy new technology to improve revenue collection and improve its own enterprise – GOEs’ revenue performance by reviewing their operational efficiency and cost-to-income ratios, and generally ensuring that they operate in more fiscally responsible manner.

The minister listed some key projects and initiatives to include: agriculture, defence, education, health, housing, mines and steel development, Niger Delta, power, transport, water resources, and works.
Projects under agriculture and rural development are: N4.2 billion for rural roads and water sanitation programme; over N25.1 billion for promotion and development of value chain across more than 30 different commodities; N5.30 billion for National Grazing Reserve Development; N3.53 billion for Agribusiness and market development; N4.08 billion for food and strategic reserves; N2billion for supply, installation and commissioning of water rigs nationwide, and N1.13 billion for youths in Agribusiness.
Others include N2billion for livelihood improvement family enterprise (LIFE) programme; N22.1 billion for veterinary and pest control services and N1.56 billion for extension services.

Transport has N162.28 billion counterpart funding for railway projects including: Lagos-Kano, Calabar-Lagos, Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri), Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, and Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi in Niger Republic.
Regional interventions also has N65 billion for the reintegration of transformed ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme, and N45 billion for federal initiative for north east(pilot counterpart funding contribution).
Also, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) got N11.3 billion for intervention programmes, and N36.4 billion for other SDGs projects.
A total of N500 billion is set aside for the federal government special intervention programme, including the home-grown school feeding programme, government economic empowerment programme, N-Power job creation programme and the conditional cash transfer.
Special economic zone project under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment got N44.2 billion for ongoing and planned special economic zone project across the geopolitical zones, meant to drive manufacturing export amongst other areas.
The 2018 Budget proposal seeks to continue the reflationary policies of the 2016 and 2017 Budgets which helped put the economy back on the path of growth, the minister said.

In his remarks, the director-general of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze said that the Buhari administration placed greater emphasis on explaining the inflows and outflows of funds.
“We have attempted to make this year’s Citizens Guide to the 2018 budget more user-friendly by using easy -to-read charts and info-graphics,” he stated.



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