2019-2021 BUDGET: FEC approves N8.73 trillion

Pegs oil price at $60 per barrel
•2.3 million barrel per day
• Pegs exchange rate at N305

THE Federal Executive Council, FEC, yesterday, approved the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP now to be sent to the National Assembly for its consideration and approval.

FEC also approved a budget proposal of N8.73 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year which is N400 billion or 4.5 percent lower than the N9.12 trillion budgeted in 2018.

President Buhari signed the 2018 Budget into Law Wednesday June 20, 2018 at the State House, Abuja.
FEC also pegged oil price at $60 per barrel, oil production at 2.3 million per day and exchange rate was put at N305 per dollar.

The Federal Government also announced that Nigeria will get $1.5 million loan from Africa Development Bank for Lagos-Abidjan expressway.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udoma disclosed this to State House correspondents after the weekly FEC presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, presidential villa, Abuja.

He further disclosed that the Gross Domestic Product, GDP growth rate was put 3.01 percent.

He said that the MTEF/FSP was designed to translate the strategic development objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to realistic and implementable budget framework for the medium term.

In his words: “Today, (yesterday), the Federal Executive Council approved the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, and it was approved and it will be submitted to the National Assembly for their consideration.

“The MTEF/FSP that was approved is designed to translate the strategic development objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) into a realistic and implementable budget framework for the medium term.

“As you know relevant inputs from engagements with stakeholders, the last of such engagements was just last week; the inputs from stakeholders were part of the document that was submitted.

“The key highlights are the following assumptions which are being proposed for the 2019 budget; oil price benchmark of 60 US dollars, oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day, exchange rate of N305 per US dollars and the GDP growth rate of 3.01percent.

“In addition, the MTEF projects that a budget size in 2019 of N8.73 trillion which is about N400 billion less than the N9.12 trillion for 2018.”

Also briefing, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed said, “Today (Wednesday) Ministry of Finance went to council to obtain approval for a loan of 1.5 million US Dollars from the African Development Fund to finance the multi-national Abidjan-Lagos corridor highway development project study.

“The multi-national project that is running from Abidjan-Lagos corridor will be a highway project that will be in six lanes, a dual carriageway highway that will involve five countries including the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Federal Republic of Benin, Republic of Cote’d’Ivoire, Republic of Ghana and the Togolese Republic.

“At the 42nd Ordinary Session of Heads of State meeting of the ECOWAS countries in 2013, this project was discussed and approved, the African Development Bank in 2016 approved the total sum of 13.5million US dollars for the whole of the project to finance both the study in the form of a loan as well as the grant.

“So, this 13.5 million US dollars has been distributed among the participating countries and the component for Nigeria is $1.5 million. The FEC has approved that we accept this facility so that the project study can be commissioned towards the planning of the execution of the highway project itself.”

On his party, the Minister Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said apart from the funding of the Lagos/Abidjan corridor, his ministry presented a memorandum for the award of Lagos/Badagry/Seme border road for rehabilitation and reconstruction of some section of it.

He said: “It is a total of 46 kilometres. That excludes the part under contract by the Lagos State government from Eric Moore to Okokomaiko. Council approved 46 kilometres from Agbara through to Seme border.

“And out of that 46 kilometres, 24 kilometres will be six lanes and 22 kilometres will retain the current four lanes without expansion of the three construction and the contract price was N63.023 billion.

“Just for clarity, this road is part of the Lagos/Abidjan highway corridor, so the Nigerian section is the Lagos, Eric Moore to Badagry to Seme border. So we are constructing our part. Ghana has done theirs, I think Ivory Coast has done theirs. Togo and Benin have something in place. Some of them have to move because of coastal erosion by the Atlantic and how to reintegrate all of that is part of the studies that are been funded by the African Development Bank and also how to ensure single and efficient border control.”

The Ministry also said that there was an approval for the construction of the road linking Gwarzo to Karaie, a 20 kilometers high way project in Kano state , at the cost of N1.029 billion, as well as approval to terminate and re-award the contract for the 10 megawatts Katsina wind energy project.

He explained that the project with a total of 37 turbines has 15 already completed, while 22 were in different stages of completion, adding that the 15 completed, was already generating about four megawatts of electricity and was being used by the Power Distribution Company.

He said that the main contractors were not giving government the kind of cooperation needed from them as the government discovered that the local contractor that they hired was the one actually doing the job.

He said, “We have decided to terminate the contract, and use the balance to pay the local contractor who has done 15 to install the remaining 22.

“Council approved that at N121.073 million out of the existing contract. So it is not a new contract. It is so that the contractor can complete the work in the next five months.

“Council also approved the African trans Sahara high way project from Algiers to Lagos. The Nigerian section is the Lagos to Katsina border side, transversing Ibadan, Oyo Ogbomosho, Ilorin , Katsina, Abuja, Kano etc.

“If you look at what the President has done in the last few days, a committee on the African Free Trade agreement protocols, these are the critical infrastructures that link us. So, from South to North, from Lagos through the West Coast, are the interconnections on how we relate with other African countries.”

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, while briefing, announced that Council approved the revised estimated total cost for the construction of Zobe regional Water supply scheme in Katsina state, phases 1 (a) and 2, as part of efforts to complete infrastructures inherited by the federal government.

He said that the project was first awarded in 1992 but was abandoned with a new contractor taking over in 2009, but was never paid.

Adamu stated that the Buhari administration inherited the project at 75 percent completion in 2015, adding, “Council approved the augmentation of N12.15 billion to bring the project to a total of N22.1 billion with an additional completion period of 18 months.”

He disclosed that the federal government recently signed a N10 billion agreement with the Katsina government for the completion of the phase 1(b) of the project.

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