From Uche Usim, Abuja
Despite zero release, so far, for capital expenditure this year, the Federal Government yesterday projected a budget of N7,939,307,110.56 for the 2018 fiscal year.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, unveiled the projections in Abuja at a forum witnessed by civil society organisations, media, organised private sector and the general public.
The programme dwelt on the 2018-2020 Medium Term Fiscal Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper. According to Udoma, the consultation on the 2018 budget started on Tuesday evening with leadership of the National Assembly and will continue today (Friday) in Lagos with other relevant stakeholders to ensure its smooth passage.
The Minister stated that the document would be presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in a fortnight and submitted to the National Assembly in October for further actions.
Udoma said the budget would be based on oil production volume of 2.30 million barrels per day (bpd); budget oil benchmark of $45/barrel; exchange rate of N305/US$ and inflation rate of 12.42 per cent.
“The projection consists of capital expenditure of N2.408 trillion exclusive of transfers; fiscal deficit of N2.777 trillion; Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of N113.4 trillion and debt to GDP ratio of 2.45 per cent,” he explained.
Udoma noted that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) was also a major programme the 2018 budget will help achieve.
“So, we are expecting an estimated growth of 2.6 per cent for this year to 3.4 per cent in 2018. This is what we expect in sub-Saharan Africa.”
In the area of oil production, Udoma said the country projects to produce 2.3 million bpd by 2018 and 2.4 million for 2019 will hit 2.5 million barrels by 2020.
“We also intend to ensure self-sufficiency in petroleum products by 2019 and start exporting refined products. We also want to concession our rail lines and build standard gauge lines.
“For industrialisation, we have the special economic zones, which we have begun here to entice investors. It will be deepened in 2018,” he explained, adding that the government was working hard to bring in its overhead expenditure and will also employ frugal means of spending.
“We will ensure we pay salaries only to people who exist and are working for the government. We’ll always eliminate ghost workers. We’ll limit our debts to sustainable limits as we borrow to reflate the economy. The DMO will guide us in this area. Our deficits will be within comfortable limits while trying to drive up revenues. We also want to shore up the federation account,” he explained.