By Aluta News
Nov. 29, 2023
Lawmakers at the National Assembly, have lauded President Bola Tinubu’s N27.5 trillion 2024 budget of Renewed Hope, describing it as a sign of good omen for the country.
Across section of those who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja, described the budget as realistic.
Sen. Jimoh Ibrahim (APC- Ondo) said the budget was fantastic.
“This is fantastic, for the first time it is not all budgeting for salary; you see it is beyond the 30 per cent benchmark in the last 10 years of having a budget of 25 per cent capital project and the remaining for expenditure.
“Now they are very close, you have the recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure very close.
“The 45 per cent debt services are not bad, except that we are borrowing more.
“Remembered that last year, debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was about six per cent, now it is about three per cent to GDP,’’ he said.
Ibrahim said the 2024 budget had a deficit financing of about N8.7 trillion which would be funded through external borrowing.
“It is a fairly budget and it is on infrastructure development.
“Above all, averagely it is a very fair budget, except that we have to look at the area of funding, the area of borrowing.
“Now we are borrowing N8.7 trillion dollars that is not too much of borrowing for 250 million people, what Nigeria owes is less than 100 billion dollars.
“The debt to GDP is about 30 per cent meaning that we can still borrow 70 per cent value of our GDP,’’ he said.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. Sani Musa, said the nation had never had it so good in budget presentation, where capital expenditure witnessed an increase.
“We never had it so good in budget presentation, where the capital expenditure has been raised to about eight trillion naira, the debt servicing has reduced.
“We are looking at making the dollar N750 instead of N700, which means we are going to get more revenue from that.
“The crude oil price has been increased from 73 to 75 dollars, which is good.
“You can see that the budget is different from the previous ones that we have had, where the debt servicing is far more than the capital budget,’’ he said.
Musa said the capital budget had been raised to N8 trillion which was unprecedented.
“I believe this budget will handle the renewed hope of Nigerians, “Musa said.
He said the differences between the 2024 budget and the previous ones,was the debt servicing projection.
Musa also said government plans to generate revenue from government enterprises that were performing optimally and from proceeds of commercialization and privatisaton.
He said revenue leakages would stop, saying that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was on the verge of modernising its electronic -customs activities.
This, he said would improve collection of revenue centrally.
“If we do that, I think a lot of loopholes that have become pipe drain for abuse will be blocked.
“This is the best time that Nigerians should be hopeful,” Musa said.
Sen. Solomon Adeola (APC-Ogun) said the budget, was a paradigm shift from the norm in the nation’s budgetary presentation.
“We believe this is a trend that will continue and Nigerians can witness for the first time a government that has lessened its borrowing and has taken up its capital expenditure.
“This is a right step in the right direction and we appreciate president Tinubu,’’ he said.
He said the budget indicates that it was focused revenue drive.
“The president has done well in funding the supplementary budget; the subsidy removal and unification of rates are some of the economic reforms.
“If well utilised and pursed, Nigerians will soon start to experience a country that will keep going up,’’ he said.
Sen. Aliyu Wadada (SDP-Nasarawa) said that the January to December budget cycle could be possible, with the 2024 budget.
He urged the executive to prevail on the Chief executives of MDAs to appear for budget defence to enable the National Assembly process the budget in good time.