By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Nigeria’s 2019 budget also known as ‘Budget of Continuity’ has a funding gap of N102.83 billion, an increase made by the National Assembly, the Minister of Budget and National Planning Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has revealed.
This is just as he stated, that by increasing the size of the 2019 budget designed to further reposition the economy and reducing proposed borrowing, NASS created the unfunded deficit.
Udoma who disclosed these during the public presentation of the approved 2019 budget in Abuja, stated that the overall budget deficit is N1.918 trillion, representing 1.37% of the GDP and the deficit is to be financed by borrowing N1.605 trillion split equally between domestic and foreign borrowing.
The 2019 Appropriation Bill was presented to NASS by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 19, 2018, passed by NASS and transmitted to the President on May 9 and signed into law on Monday.
According to Udoma, “Executive revenue assumptions were generally approved and adopted by NASS, except for unexplained increases totaling N31.5 billion on some non-oil revenue lines.
“NASS increased the budget size from N8.83 trillion to N8.92 trillion translating to an increase of N90.33 billion.
“This has resulted in an overall increase of N58.83 billion in deficit. Inexplicably, NASS reduced the proposed borrowing from N1.649 trillion to N1.605 trillion, thus creating an overall unfunded deficit of N102.83 billion. To fully fund the budget, the level of borrowing may therefore have to increase”, He said
For revenue, Udoma said it was projected at N6.97 trillion, consisting of oil revenue projected at N3.73 trillion while non-oil revenue was estimated at N1.39 trillion.
He said that the estimate for non-oil revenue consisted of N799.52 billion from Companies Income Tax (CIT), N229.34 billion from Value Added Tax (VAT) and Customs Duties of N302.55 billion.
While lamenting the country’s high unemployment rate, he assured that the federal government will continue to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), saying it will help reduce the huge unemployment burden.
He added that the government would be spending N258 billion on the construction and rehabilitation of roads in every geo-political zone of the country; N51.22 billion for the implementation of the National Health Act; N21.23 billion for immunization.
Also, N548 billion for Zobe Water Supply Project – Phase 1 and II; N15.66 billion for the promotion and development of value chain across more than 30 different commodities; N38.25 billion for ongoing and planned special economic zone projects across the geopolitical zones to drive manufacturing /exports and N38 billion and N11.3 billion respectively for the SDGs.
Sen. Udoma said that the sum of N65 billion, N45 billion and N10 billion for reintegration of transformed ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty programme, Federal initiative for the North East (Pilot Counterpart funding contribution), and take off grant for the North East Commission respectively.
In addition, N500 billion was budgeted for FGN Special Intervention Programme such as Social Housing, Home Grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment Programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme, and Conditional Cash Transfers, etc.
He assured that the government will continue to create the enabling environment for private sector to increase their investment and contribute significantly to job creation and economic growth.
“The 2019 Budget of Continuity should further reposition the economy on the path of higher, diversified and sustainable growth, and the contribute to lifting significant numbers of out citizens out of poverty”, he remarked.