2018 budget achievable with National Assembly's cooperation - Minister


Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning.

Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning.

Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, on Thursday, says 2018 budget projections are achievable with cooperation from the National Assembly and other stakeholders.

Udoma said this at the public presentation of the approved 2018 Budget of Consolidation in Abuja.

The 2018 budget was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, after it was raised from N8.61 trillion to N9.12 trillion by the National Assembly.

The minister said “we are determined to implement the budget to ensure Nigerians benefit from economic progress.

“We will work closely with the National Assembly where we need adjustment; we will approach them with either supplementary budget or amendment as the case may be, to address issues.

“We believe the National assembly will cooperate with us because ultimately, the development of Nigeria concerns us all.”

Udoma said that the country’s journey out of the recent economic recession had helped the government to reset its priorities.

He added that the experience had helped the government to focus more on reforms and activities with both short and long-term bearings on sustainable economic growth.

He said “in line with the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), we are seeking to optimise derivable benefits from oil by restructuring our equity in Joint Venture (JV) oil assets.

“We will restructure the Joint Venture oil assets and intensify efforts at accelerating economic diversification and non-oil revenue generation.

“Already, diversification efforts are yielding positive results with significant growth in the non-oil sector.

“Government needs the private sector, we will continue to create an enabling environment for private sector to increase investment and contribute significantly to job creation and economic growth.

“The Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) will bring private sector investment together: we are determined to remove obstacles from investment and we need both private and government sector investments.”

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According to him, the goal of the 2018 budget is to consolidate on the gains recorded so far by the current
administration, and to ensure that Nigerians progress economically.

On key assumptions and Macro-Framework, Udoma said the key parameters of the budget were as articulated in the ERGP, other than oil price.

He, however, said that the oil price was adjusted upward by the National Assembly from 45 dollars to 51 dollars per barrel.

“We took on-board some key reform initiatives contained in the ERGP in the 2018 budget such as deployment of new technology to improve revenue collection.

“We also consdered upward review of tariffs and tax rates where appropriate, and stronger enforcement action against tax defaulters.’’

The minister, who commended the National Assembly for reviewing the budget proposal, said the review
gave room for more projects across the six geopolitical zones to enhance sustainable development.

In addition, the minister said, the 2018 budget proposal sought to continue the reflationary policies of the 2016 and 2017 budgets which helped to put the economy back on the path of growth.

He said “we plan to continue to spend more on ongoing infrastructure projects that have potential for job creation and inclusive growth.

“We will continue to leverage on private capital and counterpart funding for the delivery of infrastructure projects.

“As with the 2016 and 2017 budgets, the 2018 budget has been prepared on Zero Based Budget (ZBB) principle.”

The 2018 budget proposal was presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 7, 2017 and was passed on May 16.

The budget was, however, transmitted to the President on May 25 and assented to by the President on June 20.

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