By Harrison Arubu
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday unveiled a federal budget of N8.83 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year with N300 billion lower than the 2018 budget.
The figure came in the 2019 Appropriation Bill presented by the president to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2018 total budget estimate was N9.1 billion.
According to Buhari, N4.04 trillion or 50.31 per cent is earmarked for recurrent expenditure and N2.03 trillion representing 22.98 per cent earmarked for capital projects.
Other estimates are N492.36 billion for statutory transfers; N2.14 trillion for debt servicing and provision of N120 billion as sinking fund.
He explained that the sinking fund would be used to “retire maturing bonds to local contractors”.
The 2019 budget proposal is based on an oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar.
Other benchmarks are: real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 3.01 per cent and inflation rate of 9.98 per cent.
The total projected revenue, according to the president, is N6.97 trillion, which is three per cent lower than the 2018 estimate of N7.17 trillion.
Buhari said the expected income consisted of oil revenue projected at N3.73 trillion, and non-oil revenue estimated at N1.39 trillion.
“The estimate from non-oil revenue consists of N799.52 billion from company income tax; N229.34 billion from value added tax, and customs duties of N302.5 billion.
“We have reduced our expectations from independent revenue to N624.58 billion.
“Other revenues expected in 2019 include various recoveries of N203.38 billion; N710 billion as proceeds from the restructuring of government equity in joint ventures, and other sundry incomes of N104.1 billion,” he said.
The president explained that the total N8.83 trillion proposed expenditure for 2019 included grants and donor funds amounting to N209.92 billion.
Buhari said although the 2019 estimate was lower than the 2018 budget of N9.1 trillion, it was higher than the N8.6 trillion originally proposed by the executive to the National Assembly.
The budget deficit is projected to decrease to N1.86 trillion or 1.3 per cent of the GDP in 2019 from N1.95 trillion projected for 2018.
“This reduction is in line with our plan to progressively reduce deficit and borrowings over the medium term,” he said.
On sectoral allocation, the president said the Ministry of Interior would get N569.07billion, Defence (N435.62 billion), Education (N462.24 billion) and Health (N315.62 billion). (NAN)
By Harrison Arubu