Published On: Wed, May 16th, 2018

Budget 2018: NASS Passes N9.12 Trillion Appropriation, Saraki Hails Increase In Health Allocations

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By Nuel Suji – The National Assembly on Wednesday passed the 2018 budget after seven months with an increase of N500 billion.

President Muhammadu Buhari had presented an Appropriation bill of N8.6 trillion to a joint session of the National Assembly last November, urging for expeditious passage of the budget.

Presenting the budget before Senate for third reading and final passage at plenary, the Chairman senate committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje, said the increase of over N500 billion was done in consultation with the Executive raising the total budget to N9.12 trillion.

Mr. Goje explained to the lawmakers that the decision to increase the budget was as a result of increase in oil benchmark from $45 to $51 per barrel.

The exchange rate of N305 to a dollar and production of 2.3 million barrels of oil per day was adopted as proposed by the executive.

Mr. Goje said the funds accrued from the increment will be spent on some projects already earmarked by the committee.

He said the surplus fund was spread on some ‘critical sectors’ in consultation with the executive. He gave a breakdown of how much more will be spent on different sectors.

According to the report, N42.72billion will be spent on security, N57. 15 billion on the 1 per cent vote for health as mandated by the National Health Act, N106.50b billion for the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

Other areas are; education, N15.7 billion, Judiciary, N10 billion and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), N44.20billion.

He added that the increment will allow for a N50.88 billion deficit reduction.

In the final breakdown, the senate passed a 2018 budget of N9, 120, 334, 988, 225 of which N530, 421, 368, 624 is for statutory transfers as against N456, 458, 654, 074 proposed by the executive.

A total of N2, 203, 835, 365, 699 was budgeted for debt service as proposed while N190, 000, 000, 000 was budgeted for sinking fund for maturing loans.

While N3, 512, 677, 902, 077 was earmarked for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure with a slight increment from N3, 494, 277, 820, 219 proposed and N2, 873, 400, 351, 825 was budgeted for capital expenditure as against N2, 427, 665, 113, 222.

The budget will have a fiscal deficit of N1, 954, 464, 993, 775 and a deficit to GDP of -1.73 per cent.

Document obtained by our correspondent in budget showed that National Assembly budget for 2018 is N139 billion National Judicial Council (NJC) N110 billion, INEC, N45.5 billion, NDDC is pegged at N81.8 billion, Universal Basic Education – N109 billion, Public Complaint Commission (PCC) N7.4 billion, National Human Rights Commission, N3 billion.

Also,  Presidency , N31.5 billion, Ministry of Defence,  N418 billion,  Ministry of foregin Affairs,  N63 billion,  Ministry of Information and Culture,  N42.6 billion, Ministry of Interior,  N501.6 billion , Ministry of Health,  N269.9 billion,  Ministry of Environment,  N17.8 billion.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, expressed delight over the passage of the budget.

“We have just passed Budget 2018 with the stipulation that 1 percent of the CRF must be used to fund healthcare across the nation in the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF). We promised, and we have delivered,” Mr. Saraki said in a tweet, shortly after the passage.

“This is a happy day for those of us who come from the medical profession because this 1 percent budget towards healthcare will go a long way in helping to build a healthier nation. On behalf of all medical professionals, l want to thank the National Assembly,” he added.

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