After about seven months President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2018 Budget proposal to the National Assembly, indications emerged yesterday that the document will be passed today (Wednesday) or tomorrow.
This followed the jerking up of the budget estimates to N9, 120, 334, 988, 225 trillion from the N8.612 trillion proposed by President Buhari when he presented same on November 7, 2017. Though, the Senate Committee on Appropriation only laid a blank report yesterday for final consideration and passage today or tomorrow, the N508 billion increments in the proposed budget profile, was reflected in the report laid by the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation.
According to the document as stated in the order paper, N530,421,368,624 was proposed for statutory transfer; N2,869,600,351,825 for development fund for capital expenditure; N 3 , 5 1 6 , 4 7 7 , 9 0 2 , 0 7 7 for recurrent (nondebt) expenditure, while N2,203,835,365,699 is for debt service; and N199b for sinking fund for maturing loans.
However, the breakdown of the proposed N8.612 trillion of 2018 Aggregate Expenditure as presented by President Buhari last year , comprises a Recurrent Cost of N3.494 trillion; Debt Service of N2.014 trillion; Statutory Transfers of about N456 billion; Sinking Fund of N220 billion (to retire maturing bond to Local Contractors) and Capital Expenditure of N2.428 trillion (excluding the capital component of Statutory Transfers). President Buhari had, at the budget presentation, indicated that a 15 per cent scale back on total deficit at N2.005 trillion, down from N2.36 trillion stated in 2017 budget.
He said 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 GDP stated in 2017 budget. Of the N8.612 trillion earlier proposed for 2018 by the president, 30.8 per cent (or N2.652 trillion) of aggregate expenditure (inclusive of capital in Statutory Transfers), has been allocated to the capital budget. He also said the 2018 budget was based on a crude oil benchmark price of US $45 per barrel, with an output of oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day, including condensates, as against that of 2017 which was of $42.50 per barrel, and output was put at 2.2 million barrels per day.
He explained then that the Exchange rate of N305/US$ was set for 2018, while Real Gross Domestic Product, GDP growth of 3.5 per cent was projected and inflation Rate of 12.4 per cent