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Udoma doubts 12-month calendar for 2019 budget


The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo-Udoma<br />

The Minister for Budget and National Planning Minister, Udoma Udo Udoma, has expressed doubt over returning Nigeria’s budgeting cycle to the traditional January to December calendar any time soon.

The Muhammadu Buhari government had promised this during the campaign but the minister yesterday noted that he does not see the administration achieving that feat in the 2019 appropriation yet to be presented by mid-October.

He spoke in Abuja while unveiling the projections of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Policy Strategy Paper (PSP) for 2019 to 2021 to an audience, comprising the organised private sector, media and civil society organisations.

The minister revealed that the executive arm of would present N8.651 trillion for 2019 against the current N9.12 trillion fiscal document, citing low revenue.

He doubted if the National Assembly could treat the proposal expeditiously in view of the electioneering era.

Udoma noted: “It might be difficult for this particular budget (2019) to do the January to December life cycle because of the electioneering year. It might be difficult for the National Assembly to do that now. ”

The current budget was approved around late May this year and signed into law by the president mid June.

However, highlights of the 2019 budget proposals, to be presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval before an onward transmission to the National Assembly indicate a slowdown on government’s expansionary spending approach, going by the reduction of the revenue projection, total size and vote for capital projects.

Recurrent expenditure grows from N3.516 trillion to N4.753 trillion while capital spending declines from the current allocation of N3.133 trillion to N2.793 trillion.

Also, government is projecting the same volume of oil mineral production of 2.3 million daily as well as an increased budget benchmark of $60, up from the current $51 regime and an exchange rate of N305 to a United States dollar.

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