10 Points From Buhari's Speech While Presenting 2017 Budget Of N7.298 Trillion At NASS By Muhammad Alkali

  • TheTick Times Thursday Dec 15, 2016

1. For the record: For many years we depended on oil for foreign exchange revenues. In the days of high oil prices, we did not save. We squandered.

2. I will stand my ground and maintain my position that under my watch, that old Nigeria is slowly but surely disappearing and a new era is rising in which we grow what we eat and consume what we make. We will CHANGE our habits and we will CHANGE Nigeria.

3. We will increasingly grow and process our own food, we will manufacture what we can and refine our own petroleum products. We will buy ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods. We will encourage garment manufacturing and Nigerian designers, tailors and fashion retailers. We will patronize local entrepreneurs. We will promote the manufacturing powerhouses in Aba, Calabar, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Nnewi, Onitsha, and Ota. From light manufacturing to cement production and petrochemicals, our objective is to make Nigeria a new manufacturing hub.

4. In 2017, we will focus on the rapid development of infrastructure, especially rail, roads and power. Efforts to fast-track the modernization of our railway system is a priority in the 2017 Budget. In 2016, we made a lot of progress getting the necessary studies updated and financing arrangements completed. We also addressed some of the legacy contractor liabilities inherited to enable us to move forward on a clean slate. Many of these tasks are not visible but are very necessary for sustainability of projects. Nigerians will soon begin to see the tangible benefits in 2017.

5. Fellow Nigerians, although a lot of problems experienced by this Administration were not created by us, we are determined to deal with them. One of such issues that the Federal Government is committed to dealing with frontally, is the issue of its indebtedness to contractors and other third parties. We are at an advanced stage of collating and verifying these obligations, some of which go back ten years, which we estimate at about N2 trillion. We will continue to negotiate a realistic and viable payment plan to ensure legitimate claims are settled.

6. The N7.298 trillion 2017 Budget is based on a benchmark crude oil price of US$42.5 per barrel; an oil production estimate of 2.2 million barrels per day; and an average exchange rate of N305 to the US dollar.

7. We have increased the budgetary allocation to the Judiciary from N70 billion to N100 billion. This increase in funding is further meant to enhance the independence of the judiciary and enable them to perform their functions effectively.

8. On key capital spending provisions in the 2017 Budget, Power, Works and Housing got the highest with N529billion. It was followed by Transportation with N262 billion and Special Intervention Programmes with N150 billion. However, a significant portion of recurrent expenditure has been provisioned for the payment of salaries and overheads in institutions that provide critical public services with Ministry of Interior getting the largest chunk of N482.37 billion; N398.01 billion for Ministry of Education; N325.87 billion for Ministry of Defence; and N252.87 billion for Ministry of Health.

9. The 2017 Budget estimates retains the allocation of N500 billion to the Special Intervention programme consisting of the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme to provide loans for traders and artisans, Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest families and the new Family Homes Fund (social housing scheme). The N-Power Programme has recently taken off with the employment of 200,000 graduates across the country, while the School Feeding Programme has commenced in a few States, where the verification of caterers has been completed.

10. Provision has also been made in these estimates for activities that will foster a safe and conducive atmosphere for the pursuit of economic and social activities. In this regard, the allocation for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been increased to N65 billion in the 2017 Budget. Furthermore, N45 billion in funding has been provisioned for the rehabilitation of the North East to complement the funds domiciled at the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative as well as commitments received from the multinational donors

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