Finally, Senate passes 2018 budgetAfter six months delay, the Senate on Wednesday passed the 2018 budget of N9.120 trillion.

The appropriation bill, the largest in the nation’s history, is premised on key revenue assumptions of oil price benchmark of $51; crude oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day and exchange rate of N305/$1USD.

The 2018 proposal by President Muhammadu Buhari had projected an oil price benchmark at $45, crude oil production at 2.3mbpd and based on an exchange rate of N305 to $1.

This comes as it explained that the 6 percent increase of the budget estimates from N8.612 trillion to N9.120 trillion was done in consultation with the executive arm of government.

The Senate dissolved into Committee on Supply to do the clause-by-clause consideration of the budget.

Highlights of the proposal show are N530,421,368,624 for Statutory Transfer; N2,203,835,365,699 for Debt Service; N3,512,677,902,077 for Recurrent Expenditure, N2,873,400,351,825 for Capital Expenditure, Fiscal Deficit of N1,954,464,993,775 and 1.73 percent Deficit to GDP.

Earlier, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Dajuma Goje, revealed that increase in the budget by N508 billion was done in consultation with the executive arm of government.

This, he said, was attributed to the increase in oil price benchmark. To this end, the lawmaker said the proposal was jerked up from $45 per barrel to $51 per barrel.

Consequently, the senator listed the critical sectors where the increase was applied to include: Reduction of deficit N50.88 billion; Security N46.72billion; Health N57.15billion; Power, Works and Housing N106.50billion; Education (particularly for the infrastructure for the 12 newly established Universities and meal subsidy in Unity schools) N15.70billion; Judiciary N10.00billion and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) N44.20billion.

Analysts say while the 2018 budget can elevate Nigeria’s economy to new heights. They, however, expressed concern that with seven months to the end of the year and three months to the commencement of party primaries for the 2019 elections, the delay in implementation could negatively impact its performance.

Already, politics has taken centre stage and governance relegated to the back stage with the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari to seek reelection for a second term.

Details later….



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