Fred Itua and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, painted a scary economic situation and conceded that Nigeria may be heading for another round of recession if the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) continued in the negative.
Buhari made the revelation when he presented a N13:08 trillion 2021 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly.
Buhari said: “The Nigerian economy is currently facing serious challenges, with the macroeconomic environment being significantly disrupted by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth declined by 6.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020. This ended the 3-year trend of positive, but modest, real GDP growth recorded since the second quarter of 2017. I am glad to note that, through our collective efforts, our economy performed relatively better than that of many other developed and emerging economies.
“GDP growth is projected to be negative in the third quarter of this year. As such, our economy may lapse into the second recession in four years, with significant adverse consequences. However, we are working assiduously to ensure a rapid recovery in 2021.
“We remain committed to implementing programmes to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years.”
President Buhari told lawmakers that the Ibadan-Kano rail line and the 2nd Niger bridge, had reached an advanced stage.
He said: “Arrangements are underway to complete the Ibadan-Kano Line. Also, work will soon commence on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Line and Calabar-Lagos Coastal Line, which will connect the Southern and Eastern States to the North, and the South-South as well as South-East to the North, and South-West, respectively.
“The Second Niger bridge is at about 46 percent completion. We hope to commission the project before the end of our tenure in 2023. We have awarded several contracts to rehabilitate, reconstruct and construct major arterial roads, in order to reduce the hardship to commuters and increase economic activity.”
According to the breakdown of the budget, for statutory transfers, the sum of N484.49 billion has been provided for statutory transfers in the 2021 budget, which represents an increase of N56.46 billion (or 13 percent) over the revised 2020 provision.
The statutory transfer provisions are Niger Delta Development Commission, North East Development Commission, National Judicial Council, Universal Basic Education Commission, Independent National Electoral Commission, National Assembly, Public Complaints Commission, Human Rights Commission and Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
An aggregate sum of N3.85 trillion is expected to be available for capital projects in 2021.