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President Buhari Presents N20.51trn budget estimates, above N19.76trn approved by NASS



President Buhari Presents N20.51trn budget estimates, above N19.76trn approved by NASS

— Earnmarks N470.0bn for tertiary institutions revitalisation, salaries in 2023

—- Says reducing Government spending too drastically socially destabilising

By Linda Ike

President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has presented the 2023 Appropriation Act of N20.51 trillion to the National Assembly.

The total expenditure estimates comprising of N10.78 trillion fiscal deficit representing 4.78 percent of estimated GDP, above the 3 percent stipulated in FRA.

The budget proposal is N75 billion above the N19.76 trillion approved by the Senate and House of Representatives in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy paper (FSP) which was passed on Wednesday and Thursday by both Chambers respectively.

President Buhari said Federal Government will spend a total of N470.0 billion in the 2023 budget for revitalisation and salary enhancements in the tertiary institutions of learning.

Bihari who disclosed this on Friday at presentation budget estimates
to a joint session of the National Assembly expressed sadness with the crisis that has paralysed activities in the public universities in the country.

He said that Government expect the staff of those institutions to show a better appreciation of the current state of affairs in the nation.

He said, “Government alone cannot provide the resources required for funding tertiary education.

“In most countries, the cost of education is jointly shared between the government and the people, especially at the tertiary level. It is imperative therefore that we introduce a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education.

The President reaffirmed Government commitment to the implementation of agreements reached with staff unions within available resources.

He said Government is equally committed to improving the quality of education at other levels.

“This is why we have remained resolute that we will not sign any agreement that we would be unable to implement. Individual institutions would be encouraged to keep faith with any agreement reached in due course to ensure stability in the educational sector.

*Recently, we implemented various incentives aimed at motivating and enhancing teachers’ development in our schools”, Bihari said.

He said a total of N15.2 billion has been specifically provided in the 2023 budget to scale up current measures to provide safer and conducive learning environment in schools, under the Safe Schools Initiative Policy ratified the in 2019.

He added that the Government remains firmly committed to the security of life, property and investment across the country and accordingly, defence and internal security continue to be accorded top priority in 2023.

“Current efforts to properly equip and motivate our valiant personnel in the armed forces, police and paramilitary units will be sustained. I assure you, insecurity, especially banditry and kidnapping, will be significantly curtailed before the end of this administration. We will redouble our efforts to ensure we leave a legacy of a peaceful, prosperous and secured nation,” Buhari stated.

He revealed that $70 oil price benchmark; 1.69 million barrels (inclusive of Condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day) daily oil production; N435.57/$ Exchange rate; 3.75 percent Projected GDP growth rate and 17.16 percent inflation rate.

Speaking on health sector, President Bihari said: “the Government intends to focus attention on equipping existing hospitals and rehabilitating infrastructure. Stating that emphasis will also be on local production of basic medicines/vaccines.”

On food prices, Buhari said: “government is very concerned about the high food prices in the country. Various measures are being implemented to address structural factors underlying the issue. We will also step-up current efforts aimed at boosting food production and distribution in the country. You will recall our efforts in improving production of fertilizer, rice, maize cassava among other earlier initiatives.

“Government is aware of the challenges confronting the manufacturing sector. We will ensure effective implementation of policy measures aimed at positioning the manufacturing sector to generate more foreign exchange in the near future. We are also committed to improving the business environment to stimulate local and foreign investment.”

Buhari who stated that critical steps are been taken to reduce the cost of governance, cautioned that reducing government spending too drastically can be socially destabilising, hence government will continue to implement programmes to support the more vulnerable segments of society.

The budget estimates also includes N2.42 trillion spending by Government-Owned Enterprises.

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