President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday presented an Appropriation Bill of N27.5 trillion for fiscal 2024 to the National Assembly for passage.
Presenting the proposed budget tagged “Budget of Renewed Hope” to the joint session of the National Assembly, the President explained that the key thrusts of the fiscal proposal were national defence, internal security, job creation and the nation’s macro-economic stability.
Specifically, Tinubu clarified that the budgetary provisions comprised N9.92 trillion non-debt recurrent expenditure and N8.7 trillion capital expenditure, while N8.25 trillion was for debt service.
He told the lawmakers: “Accordingly, an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is N9.92 trillion, while debt service is projected to be N8.25 trillion and capital expenditure is N8.7 trillion.
‘’Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt obligations. Projected debt service is 45 per cent of the expected total revenue.
“The budget deficit is projected at N9.18 trillion in 2024 or 3.88 per cent of GDP. This is lower than the N13.78 trillion deficit recorded in 2023, which represented 6.11 per cent of GDP.
‘’The deficit will be financed by new borrowings totaling N7.83 trillion, N298.49 billion from Privatization Proceeds, and N1.05 trillion draw down on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects”, the President added.
Expatiating further, Tinubu said that in the implementation of the proposed budget, government would prioritize investment in environment optimisation, human capital development, poverty reduction and social security.
According to him, the proposed budget would also focus on 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.
He said that the budget prioritised human capital development, with particular attention given to children, because human capital remains the most critical resource for national development.
Tinubu added: “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,” the President said.
Describing a stable macro-economic environment as crucial in his administration’s bid to catalyse private investment and accelerate economic growth, Tinubu maintained that the government would continue to implement business and investment friendly measures for sustainable growth.
He said: “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 added.
On the oil benchmark price and Naira exchange rate for the proposed budget, the President said a conservative oil price benchmark of 77.96 dollars per barrel and a daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels per day were adopted after a review of global oil market trends, and that a Naira to dollar exchange rate of N750 per dollar was adopted for the fiscal 2024 year.
Tinubu said his administration remains committed to broad-based and shared economic prosperity even as he stressed that efforts would be made to further plug financial leakages through the effective implementation of key public financial management reforms.
While commending the 10th National Assembly on its sustained collaboration with the Executive arm in the implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the government, the President charged the lawmakers begin to consider the proposed “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,” Tinubu added.