In his address on Wednesday, President Bola Tinubu laid out a comprehensive budget proposal of N27.5 trillion for the year 2024 before the National Assembly, dubbing it the ‘Budget of Renewed Hope.’ Tinubu underscored its primary thrust towards national defence, internal security, local job creation, and macroeconomic stability.
Breaking down the budget, Tinubu revealed allocations of N9.92 trillion for non-debt recurrent expenditure, N8.7 trillion for capital expenditure, and N8.25 trillion for debt service. The president reaffirmed the nation’s commitment to meeting debt obligations, stating, “Projected debt service is 45 percent of the expected total revenue.”
Highlighting the fiscal outlook, the budget anticipates a deficit of N9.18 trillion, equivalent to 3.88% of GDP, a decrease from the 2023 deficit of N13.78 trillion (6.11% of GDP). To bridge the deficit, Tinubu proposed new borrowings amounting to N7.83 trillion, N298.49 billion from privatisation proceeds, and a drawdown of N1.05 trillion on multilateral and bilateral loans for specific development projects.
Tinubu outlined key priorities in the budget, including optimising the investment environment, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security. He emphasised an overhaul of the internal security architecture to bolster law enforcement capabilities, stating, “The budget prioritises human capital development because human capital remains the most critical resource for national development.”
Underscoring the significance of human capital development, especially for children, Tinubu stressed its critical role in national development. The budget also places a strong emphasis on ensuring value for money, transparency, and accountability through increased collaboration with development partners and the private sector.
Addressing challenges in the education sector, Tinubu revealed plans to implement a more sustainable model for funding tertiary education, including the operationalization of the Student Loan Scheme by January 2024. Tinubu stated, “To address long-standing issues in the education sector, a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education will be implemented.”
Economic stability featured prominently in Tinubu’s address, as he highlighted the necessity of a stable macro-economic environment to spur private investment and hasten economic growth. The government aims for a minimum economic growth of 3.76% and a moderation of inflation to 21.4% in 2024.
The budget underscored Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future, advocating for public-private partnerships in major infrastructure projects in energy, transportation, and other sectors. Resources were also allocated to support innovative and environmentally conscious initiatives, positioning Nigeria as a regional leader in clean and sustainable energy.
“By allocating resources to support innovative and environmentally conscious initiatives, we aim to position Nigeria as a regional leader in the global movement towards clean and sustainable energy,” Tinubu added.
Ahead of the COP28 climate summit, Tinubu called for proactive engagement, directing relevant agencies to secure substantial funding commitments for Nigeria’s energy transition. He urged representatives to showcase the nation’s progress in creating an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects. Tinubu said, “It is imperative that we seize this opportunity to attract international partnerships and investments that align with our national goals.”
The budget assumed a conservative oil price benchmark of $77.96 per barrel, a daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels per day, and a naira-to-dollar exchange rate of N750 for 2024.
Tinubu reiterated the administration’s commitment to broad-based and shared economic prosperity, with a focus on reviewing and expanding social investment programs, including the National Social Safety Net project. He commended the collaborative efforts of the 10th National Assembly, stating, “As you consider the 2024 Budget estimates, we trust that the legislative review process will be conducted with a view to sustaining our desired return to a predictable January-December fiscal year.” He expressed confidence in their commitment to a review process aligned with the interests of all Nigerians, emphasizing projects and programs with equitable benefits and in line with sectoral mandates.