Fall in Oil Output or not, FG Sticks to N4.9trn Expenditure in 2014

The Federal Government plans to spend N4.9 trillion ($30.96 billion) in 2014, little changed from this year, amid government expectations of reduced oil production.
Budget proposals submitted by Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lawmakers yesterday in Abuja on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan are based on an oil output of 2.39 million barrels a day and a price of $77.5 a barrel. The economy will expand 6.75 percent next year, faster than this year’s 6.5 percent estimate, with the budget deficit increasing to 1.9 percent of GDP from 1.2 percent this year.
The government will use an exchange rate of N160 a dollar to calculate its expenditure, according to the minister. Oil output estimates for next year are 6 percent lower than the figure of 2.53 million barrels a day used for this year’s spending plan.
In his medium-term expenditure proposals sent to lawmakers in September, Jonathan said revenue from crude exports was expected to drop in 2014. The country depends majorly on oil from the Niger-Delta for about 80 percent of government funds and more than 95 percent of foreign income, according to the Finance Ministry.
The budget is the last before the 2015 election year, when Jonathan as well as lawmakers and state governors are due to seek new mandates in general elections. Jonathan hasn’t said whether he plans to stand for re-election, though he has come under pressure from some party factions not to run.
Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president and long-time backer, has criticized him for failing to tackle corruption, and his ruling People’s Democratic Party has been hit by a string of defections to the main opposition group, the All Progressives Congress.
Nigeria’s long-delayed plan to rebase its GDP figures next year may boost the assessment of the size of its economy by as much as 60 percent, which would see it overtake South Africa as the continent’s largest nation in terms of total wealth, Renaissance Capital Ltd. said yesterday.

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