On Wednesday, President Bola Tinubu presented the budget estimates for the 2024 fiscal year, amounting to N27.5 trillion, to a joint session of the National Assembly for consideration and approval. Dubbed the “Budget of Renewed Hope,” the estimate surpasses the 2023 budget by N2.7 trillion, reaching a total of N24.82 trillion,Daily Trust reports.
The budget proposal is anchored on several key parameters, including a N750 per dollar exchange rate, an oil benchmark of $77.96 per barrel, an oil production volume of 1.78 million barrels per day, a GDP growth rate of 3.76%, and an inflation rate of 21.4%. The aggregate revenue projection stands at N18.32 trillion, with a deficit of N9.18 trillion, constituting 3.88% of the GDP, a reduction from the 2023 deficit of N13.78 trillion (6.11% of GDP).
To finance the 2024 budget deficit, President Tinubu outlined plans for new borrowings totaling N7.83 trillion, N298.49 billion from privatisation proceeds, and N1.05 trillion drawdown on multilateral and bilateral loans earmarked for specific development projects.
The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, provided additional insights into the budget breakdown. Out of the N27.5 trillion aggregate expenditure, N8.7 trillion is allocated to capital projects, while recurrent expenditure amounts to N18.51 trillion. Within the recurrent expenditure, N10.26 trillion is allocated to non-debt recurrent expenditure, N8.25 trillion to debt servicing, and N234 billion to sinking funds for maturing bonds. Personnel and pension costs receive a total of N6.48 trillion.
In terms of revenue, N7.94 trillion (43.3%) is projected to come from oil-related sources, with the remaining N10.39 trillion expected from non-oil sources. Non-oil tax is projected at N3.52 trillion, compared to N2.43 trillion in 2023.
The sectoral allocation breakdown reveals that the defence and security sector receives the highest allocation of N3.25 trillion (12% of the budget), followed by education with N2.2 trillion (7.9%), health with N1.4 trillion (5%), and infrastructure with N1.32 trillion (5%).
President Tinubu emphasized the budget’s focus on national defence, internal security, local job creation, macro-economic stability, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security. He highlighted plans to overhaul the nation’s internal security architecture, prioritize human capital development with a focus on children, and implement a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education.
Tinubu urged lawmakers to pass the budget within a month to maintain the January-December budget calendar. Senate President Godswill Akpabio echoed the importance of reducing the country’s high debt profile, standing at N87.38 trillion as of June 2023.
In response, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) expressed skepticism about the budget, describing it as deceitful and warning against its approval, stating that it could lead to further economic depression and hopelessness. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, acknowledged past budget shortcomings and proposed enacting a Budget Act to strengthen the budget process and promote development outcomes.