By Suleiman Idris, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday afternoon presented the proposed 2018 fiscal budget to the joint National Assembly.
The President who was accompanied to the Chamber of the National Assembly by his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo and other cabinet members presented a proposed budget of 8.612trillion which is 16 percent more than the 2017 budget which was N7.44 trillion.
The budget which is christened ‘budget of consolidation,’ is projected at an oil price of $45 per barrel and an estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day.
The President said that the budget is further projected on an exchange rate of N305 to $1, a real Gross Domestic Growth of 3.5 per cent and inflation rate of 12.4 per cent.
Speaking before the presentation of the budget, Bukola Saraki, Senate President said it was necessary to reassess the relationship between oil and our economy.
“As the country gradually recovers, it is important to reset the fundamentals that drive our economy – so we do not slide back into recession.
We must reassess the relationship between oil and our economy. Oil prices are gradually inching up, but that is no reason for complacency in our diversification drive. We must grow our economy away from oil – as well as the need to increase non-oil revenue generation and collection.” He said
He added that revenue from taxes as well as independent revenues from state owned enterprises must be taken seriously.
“If the budget is to be funded, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to revenue under-performance. While there is a need to review extant laws guiding the operation of some Government enterprises, I would urge for more determined effort on the part of the Executive, to plug leakages.
“This sector alone accounts for over 40 trillion naira in valuation, of which less than 400 billion naira is remitted as revenue to the Consolidated Federation Account. This is not acceptable. We need to vigorously address this area.
“The budgets of parastatals and agencies are meant to be submitted with this budget presentation, as stipulated by the constitution.
“We must work to ensure that these are passed by the end of the year, and sanction those parastatals and agencies that fail to submit their budget along with the 2018 budget, and deny access to capital expenditure unless budget is passed.
“Further to the area of increasing independent revenue, there is the need to review agreements that government has signed with some private sector service providers. Many of these agreements are biased, and clearly, not in the interest of the country.” Saraki added