Our Reporter Abuja with Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Nigeria’s President, Senator Bola Tinubu, has presented the 2024 Appropriation Bill of N27.5 trillion before a joint session of the National Assembly.
The budget christened the “Budget of Renewed Hope,” was presented on the floor of the House of Representatives by Tinubu on Wednesday.
President Tinubu had initially proposed N26.1 trillion as the total expenditure profile for the 2024 fiscal year, but later adjusted it to N27.5 trillion.
“Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members, permit me to highlight key issues relating to the budget proposals for the next fiscal year. The 2024 Appropriation has been themed the Budget of Renewed Hope. The proposed Budget seeks to achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better investment environment, enhanced human capital development, as well as poverty reduction and greater access to social security.
“Defence and internal security are accorded top priority. The internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities and safeguard lives, property and investments across the country.
“Human capital is the most critical resource for national development. Accordingly, the budget prioritizes human development with particular attention to children, the foundation of our nation.
“To improve the effectiveness of our budget performance, 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.
“A stable macro-economic environment is important to catalyse private investment and accelerate economic growth. We have and shall continue to implement business and investment friendly measures for sustainable growth.
“We expect the economy to grow by a minimum of 3.76 percent, above the forecasted world average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024,” Tinubu stated.
While presenting the budget, President Tinubu expressed his appreciation to the parliament for its swift considering the 20232023 Supplementary Appropriation Bills and the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
“Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, I commend your swift consideration and passage of the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bills and the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper. Your prompt action underscores your devotion to economic development and to the greater welfare of our people.”
The President said the action of the legislators “highlights their desire to work closely with the executive for the benefit of our beloved country.
“I am confident that the National Assembly will continue to work closely with us to ensure that deliberations on the 2024 Budget are thorough but also concluded with reasonable dispatch. Our goal is for the Appropriation Act to come into effect on the 1st of January 2024.
“It is, by now, a matter of recorded history that my very first fiscal intervention as President of this great nation was to end the fuel subsidy regime which had proven to be so harmful to the overall health of our national economy. The second was to negotiate and subsequently present a supplementary budget to enable my government to fund the items needed to restore macro-economic stability and mitigate the harsh impact of subsidy removal.
“The third was to secure a second supplementary budget, this time to enable us to keep our promises to promote national security, invest in infrastructure and provide much needed support to the most vulnerable households in our society.
“In swearing-in my cabinet and reflecting on the unique challenges facing us, I invited the Ministers to imagine that we are attempting to draw water from a dry well. Today, I stand before you to present our Budget of Renewed Hope; a budget which will go further than ever before in cementing macro-economic stability, reducing the deficit, increasing capital spending and allocation to reflect the eight priority areas of this Administration. The budget we now present constitutes the foundation upon which we shall erect the future of this great nation,” Tinubu said.
The President also said the 2024 budget was geared towards completing critical infrastructural projects to help the economy.
“The Budget proposal meets our goal of completing critical infrastructure projects which will help address structural problems in the economy by lowering the costs of doing business for companies and the cost of living for the average person, The Honourable Minister of Budget and Economic Planning will provide full details of this proposal.”
He also gave insights on the performance of the 2023 appropriation act.
“Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, an aggregate revenue of 11.045 trillion naira was projected to fund the 2023 Budget of 24.82 trillion naira with a deficit of about 6.1 percent of GDP.
“As of September 30, the Federal Government’s actual aggregate revenue inflow was 8.65 trillion naira, approximately 96 percent of the targeted 8.28 trillion naira.
“Despite the challenges, we continue to meet our obligations.”