2024 BUDGET: Tinubu seeks NASS approval for N27.5trn 

NEWS

November 30, 2023

Tinubu’s 2024 budget deceitful, has no mechanism for economic recovery- PDP

By Henry Umoru, John Alechenu & Gift Odekina

ABUJA — PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu, yesterday, presented the N27.5 trillion 2024 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives.null

He announced his administration’s resolve to adopt the “revised 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, as parameters for the budget, stressing his government’s plan to grow the economy by a minimum of 3.76 percent, above the world average forecast, next year.https://live.primis-amp.tech/content/video/amp/videoIframe.php?s=114290#amp=1

Tagged ‘’Budget of Renewed Hope’’, Tinubu promised that with its passage, the nation’s internal security architecture would be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities, with a view to safeguarding lives, property, and investments across the country.

President Tinubu arrived at the Chamber of the House of Representatives at 11.13am, started the presentation at 11.40am, and ended it at 12.05.

He said the nation’s defence and internal security, local job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security were top priorities of the budget, and urged the legislators to be guided by the interests of Nigerians while considering the budget proposals.

Tinubu, who assured that the student loan scheme would commence in January 2024, added that the proposed budget prioritizes human capital development, with particular attention given to children because human capital remained the most critical resource for national development.

$77.96 oil benchmark, 1.78mpd production

After reviewing developments in the world oil market and domestic conditions, Tinubu said the government has adopted an oil price benchmark of 77.96 US Dollars per barrel and daily oil production of 1.78 million barrels.

He said the government had also adopted an exchange rate of N750 per US Dollar for 2024, with non-debt recurrent expenditure put at N9.92 trillion, while debt service is projected to be N8.25 trillion and capital expenditure pegged at N8.7 trillion.

The President, who noted that Nigeria remained committed to meeting its debt obligations, said there was a projected debt service of 45% from the expected total revenue, adding that the budget deficit was projected at N9.18 trillion in 2024 or 3.88 percent of Gross Domestic Product, GDP. This is lower than the N13.78 trillion deficit recorded in 2023, representing 6.11 per cent of GDP.null

Recurrent, capital expenditures 

Recurrent expenditure is put at N9.92 trillion, while capital is N8.7 trillion.

According to him, the deficit will be financed by N7.83 trillion new borrowings; N298.49 billion from privatization proceeds; and N1.05 trillion draw-down on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects.

Tinubu said: “Our primary objective has been to sustain our robust foundation for sustainable economic development. A critical focus of this budget and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework is Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future.

“To improve the effectiveness of our budget performance, the government will focus on ensuring value for money, greater transparency, and accountability. In this regard, we will work more closely with development partners and the private sector.

“To address long-standing issues in the education sector, a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education will be implemented, including the Student Loan Scheme scheduled to become operational by January 2024.null

“We expect the economy to grow by a minimum of 3.76 per cent, above the forecasted world average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 per cent in 2024. In preparing the 2024 budget, our primary objective has been to sustain our robust foundation for sustainable economic development. 

‘’A critical focus of this budget and the medium-term expenditure framework is Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future.

“Emphasizing public-private partnerships, we have strategically made provisions to leverage private capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects in energy, transportation, and other sectors. 

‘’This marks a critical step towards diversifying our energy mix, enhancing efficiency, and fostering the development of renewable energy sources. 

“By allocating resources to support innovative and environmentally conscious initiatives, we aim to position Nigeria as a regional leader in the global movement towards clean and sustainable energy.

“As we approach the COP28 climate summit, a pivotal moment for global climate action, I have directed relevant government agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments that will bolster Nigeria’s energy transition. 

“It is imperative that we seize this opportunity to attract international partnerships and investments that align with our national goals. I call upon our representatives to engage proactively to showcase the strides we have made in the quest to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects.

“Together, we will strive for Nigeria to emerge from COP28 with tangible commitments, reinforcing our dedication to a future where energy is not only a catalyst for development but also a driver of environmental stewardship.” 

He said his administration remained committed to broad-based and shared economic prosperity, adding that “we are reviewing social investment programmes to enhance their implementation and effectiveness. 

‘’In particular, the National Social Safety Net project will be expanded to provide targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households.”

He urged the lawmakers: “As you consider the 2024 budget estimates, we trust that the legislative review process will be conducted with a view to sustaining our desired return to a predictable January-December fiscal year. 

‘’I have no doubt that you will be guided by the interest of all Nigerians. We must ensure that only projects and programmes with equitable benefits are allowed into the 2024 budget. 

‘’Additionally, only projects and programmes that are in line with the sectoral mandates of MDAs and those which are capable of realizing the vision of our administration should be included in the budget.”

What we all must do to end insecurity —Akpabio

Earlier, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, in his opening remarks, said Nigerians should support and work with President Tinubu’s administration to end insecurity across the country.

He said: “We believe that insecurity can and must be stopped and it must be stopped by all Nigerians rallying around and supporting the government’s efforts. We also want to seize this opportunity to appreciate our Armed Forces for fighting for us and sometimes paying the supreme sacrifice for us.  

“We remain steadfast in our determination to work collaboratively with the executive to address and overcome the security challenges confronting our nation.

“The National Assembly bears a great responsibility in the task of reviewing and approving the budget. We’ll ensure it reflects principles of accountability and inclusiveness.

“We  fully  understand the weight of this responsibility,  and the impact our decisions will have on the lives  and welfare  of the Nigerian people.

“It is our duty to ensure that the budget reflects the principles of transparency, accountability and inclusiveness.  Consequently,we will certainly conduct a thorough and meticulous review of the budget estimates.’’

Akpabio cautioned heads of government ministries, agencies and departments, MDAs, to avoid antics that would undermine the legislature’s effort to get the requisite information to give accelerated consideration to the 2024 Budget estimates.?

The Senate president eulogized President Tinubu for taking courageous steps to improve the quality of lives of ordinary Nigerians.

He also commended the President for making history as the first Senator in Nigeria’s history to occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Not only do we have two former distinguished senators serving as the President and Vice President of our dear country, we also have other alumni of this Assembly in positions of public trust: Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator George Akume; the Chief of Staff to the President, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other Senators in the Cabinet,” added.

Why budget must improve service delivery, devt —Speaker Abbas

On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, said the 2024 budget must prioritise investment in education and healthcare, which were critical to human capital development and a more productive workforce.

According to him, the budget laid before the National Assembly should not be seen as a mere financial document but a reflection of collective resolve to address the most critical needs of the long-suffering

He said in order to promote economic growth and development, the 2024 budget should prioritise social welfare programmes to help reduce poverty and inequality. 

He emphasized that failure to do this meant failure to invest in the country’s future.

Lamenting that “millions of our constituents are living through incredibly difficult times,” Abbas said they “look to the Tinubu-led government to provide quick and sustainable solutions,” adding: “The antecedents of the President and your track record in governance inspire a lot of hope in Nigerians. Mr. President, it is for this reason that we cannot afford to fail Nigerians. If anyone can change the rot and chart a new course for Nigeria, it is you (Tinubu). I have no doubt whatsoever that we can measure up to the expectations of Nigerians through your visionary leadership and the commitment of the National Assembly.

“In view of this and the related challenge of a high level of public debt, the National Assembly will ensure that the 2024 budget includes concrete strategies for sustainable debt management, including measures to increase revenue and control expenditure.”

Abbas also assured that the National Assembly will work to institutionalise pre-budget engagements with the executive to further improve and hasten the budget process.

Speaking on some challenges that hampered the budget process in Nigeria, Abbas said though the budget was an important tool for economic management, promoting growth and development, it had generally not met the expectations of improved service delivery and development.

According to him,   this has largely been due to challenges relating to budget enactment, budget implementation and budget oversight.

“The well-known gaps in the various stages of the budget process underscore the need for budget reforms, including altering relevant sections of the constitution and existing laws to strengthen the budget process and transform our budget into an authentic tool for development. 

‘’For this reason, I propose enacting a Budget Act to strengthen the budget process and promote development outcomes. This is a well-established practice in democracies across the world.”

The speaker assured the president that the lawmakers “will give this bill the utmost priority it deserves. While we would give it accelerated consideration, we will diligently scrutinise it alongside Nigerians to ensure that when it is passed, it will be a budget that best addresses the most critical needs of our people%

He sought the cooperation of all heads of MDAs, especially during budget defence by committees.

It’s deceitful, strangulating, no mechanism for economic recovery — PDP

Meanwhile, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has dismissed the N27.5 trillion budget, as a huge disservice which, if allowed to pass, will further asphyxiate Nigerians and plunge our nation into more economic depression and hopelessness.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, said this in a statement in Abuja, yesterday.

The PDP appealed to the National Assembly to, in pursuant of its constitutional duty under Sections 80, 81 and 82 of the 1999 Constitution to reject the 2024 budget as presented and use its legislative powers to disassemble the budget and make provisions that are critical and pivotal to the growth of the economy and the welfare of Nigerians. ?

Ologunagba said, the PDP is of the view that the claim by President Tinubu that the budget is a Budget of Renewed Hope is conjured, unfounded and deceptive because the budget is completely devoid of concrete mechanisms to revive the economy, create jobs, address the comatose manufacturing and productive sectors, human capital development deficiencies and depleting life expectancy of Nigeria’s citizens.

Ologunagba said: “The 2024 budget is filled with heavily padded figures, duplicated items and several false statistics including claims of global increase in inflation rate as excuse for an impending excruciating increase in taxes and interest rate to the detriment of our productive sector.

“It is clear that the 2024 budget as proposed with its heavy provisions for luxury appetite of the Presidency and All Progressives Congress, APC, leaders which is predicted and expected to be funded from multilateral and bilateral foreign loans and increased taxes on Nigerians, is designed to further mortgage our nation and strangulate already impoverished Nigerians.

“The budget framework with respect to Recurrent Expenditure Vote of N9.9 trillion, Capital Expenditure Vote of N8.7 trillion and N8.25 trillion for debt services is unsustainable and unrealizable in view of the stated outstanding debt and proposed borrowing which is targeted mainly to finance consumption, luxury appetite and debt servicing.

“The lack of concrete and verifiable action plans to revive the manufacturing, energy, agricultural and education sectors which are the main drivers of any economy is a pointer that the Tinubu-led APC government is bereft of ideas and completely disconnected from the reality of life being faced by Nigerians.

“It is of grave concern that the President in the budget speech stated that his government has ‘adopted a Naira to US Dollar exchange rate of N750 per US Dollar for 2024.’ This is a clear admission of failure, incapacity and lack of direction by the APC administration to manage and grow the economy in such a way as to strengthen the national currency, productivity and competitiveness in the global market.”

According to him: “It has further confirmed that the numerous promises by the President and officials of his government asserting a monetary policy to strengthen the Naira have been a deceptive ploy which is consistent with the APC in the past eight and half years.

“By adopting a defeatist N750 per US Dollar exchange rate, President Tinubu has further plunged our economy into the abyss, weakened our productive sector, wrecked the purchasing power of Nigerians and the capacity of the youths to be creative, recognizing that it will be almost impossible for Small and Medium Enterprises as well as Startups to access capital under such a suffocating budget.

“Every responsible leadership strives to work and defend its national currency. Unfortunately, the Tinubu-led government has surrendered our nation’s currency and pride to the whims and caprices of the so-called “market forces”.

“The PDP insists that with a transparent, honest and innovative management of resources and economic potentials of the nation; without inordinate pursuit of luxury consumption by a few individuals in leadership position, as being witnessed under the APC, the economy will witness a rapid turn-around and the Naira strengthened to its value of below N200 per US Dollar bequeathed by the PDP to the APC

“This 2024 budget as presented by President Tinubu therefore represents hopelessness for Nigerians. It is pathetic that the President whose main duty is to provide for the security and welfare of Nigerians as provided for in Section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) could present a budget that is not geared towards the attainment of that Constitutional duty imposed on him.

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