President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday signed the 2016 budget into law, with a promise that it would usher in the change that Nigerians voted for in the 2015 general election.
The N6.06 budget signed in a brief ceremony at the Presidential Villa, attended by the leadership of the National Assembly and the chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and other government top functionaries of government was N200 million less than what the President presented to the National Assembly in December 2015.
Speaking at the ceremony, the President said a whopping N200 billion was allocated for roads construction as against the paltry N18 billion earmarked for the same purpose in 2015.
“Through the 2016 budget, aptly titled “Budget of Change, the government seeks to fulfill its own side of the social contract. The Budget I have signed into law provides for aggregate expenditures of N6.06trn. Further details of the approved budget, as well as our Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget, will be provided by the Honourable Minister of Budget & National Planning.
” In designing the 2016 budget, we made a deliberate choice to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy despite the huge decline in government revenues from crude oil exports. This is why we decided to enlarge the budget deficit at this time, to be financed principally through foreign and domestic borrowings. All borrowings will however be applied towards growth-enhancing capital expenditures.
“The signing of the budget today will trigger concerted efforts to reflate the Nigerian economy, a key element of which is an immediate injection of N350bn into the economy by way of capital projects. To illustrate our renewed commitment to infrastructural development, the 2016 budget allocates over N200bn to road construction as against a paltry N18bn allocated for same purpose in the 2015 budget.
“Despite the current difficulties we will work extra hard to achieve our revenue projections Our revenue generating agencies are coming under better management and are being re-oriented. The implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) is expected to contribute significantly to improving transparency over government revenues,” Buhari said.
He added: ” Our determined fight against corruption is resulting in improvements in the quality of public expenditure. The work of the Efficiency Unit, as well as other public financial management initiatives, are also contributing in this regard. The continuing efforts to reduce recurrent expenditures should hopefully free up more funds for capital expenditure in 2017 and beyond.
“As I said in my New Year message, living in the State House does not in any way alienate me from your daily struggles. I read the newspapers and listen to the TV and radio news. I hear your cries. share your pains “
President Buhari also harped on the determination of the government to diversify the economy for self sufficiency, noting that though it may be a rough road to travel. “We are working night and day to diversify the economy such that we never again have to rely on one commodity to survive as a country. So that we can produce the food we eat, make our own textiles, produce most of things we use. We intend to create the environment for our young people to be able to innovate and create jobs through technology.
“I cannot promise you that this will be an easy journey but in the interest of so much and so many we must tread this difficult path. But I can assure you this government you have freely elected will work with honesty and dedication day and night to ensure that our country prospers and that the prosperity benefits all Nigerians. God bless Federal the Republic of Nigeria. “