Nigerian major newspapers today, December 23, focused on the persistent fuel scarcity across the country and the 2016 budget presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday presented the N6.08 trillion 2016 budget estimates before a joint session of the National Assembly and disclosed that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had assured him that the central bank was“currently fine-tuning its foreign exchange management to introduce some flexibility and encourage additional inflow of foreign currency to help ease the pressure” on the naira.
The president’s hint of a review of the foreign exchange policy and possible devaluation of the naira saw the local currency strengthen against the dollar to N268 on the parallel market yesterday, up from N271 at which it sold on Monday, December 21,Thisday reports.
Daily Sun reports that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dismissed the N6.8 trillion 2016 federal budget presented by the President yesterday as a big fraud and executive conspiracy tailored towards mortgaging Nigeria’s future.
It expressed consternation over Buhari’s decision to borrow N2 trillion, as “the height of recklessness and deceit from a government that trends on propaganda.”
National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement, said the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government was trying to use what it called ”bogus welfare programme and phantom capital projects as cover and conduit to syphon funds to satisfy partisan interests, particularly to settle huge campaign debts.”
According to The Guardian, there were concerns about the possibility of the Buhari government largely funding the N6.08 trillion budget for 2016 with revenue from the non-oil sector.
Under the spending plan according to Buhari, “ oil-related revenues are expected to contribute N820 billion while non-oil revenue, comprising Company Income Tax (CIT), Value Added Tax (VAT), Customs and Excise duties, and Federation Account levies, will contribute N1.45 trillion. Finally, by enforcing strict compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and public expenditure reforms in all MDAs, we have projected up to N1.51 trillion from independent revenues.”
The budget is also relying heavily on recoveries of looted public funds and the savings from what is believed would be the benefit of the recently established Efficiency Units in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs ) by the new Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
The Punch reports that the President said nothing would stop his administration from recovering the country’s stolen funds no matter how long it would take and wherever they were being kept.
“We have demonstrated a strong will to fight corruption. I am sure you will agree that the sheer scale of corruption and impunity of the past explains in part, the economic challenges we now face,” he stated.
He explained that the budget would primarily “stimulate the economy”by making it competitive enough to generate employment and address the challenges faced by the most vulnerable groups in Nigeria. According to the President, a list of those classified as the most vulnerable is already being compiled.
According to The Nation, the employment of 500,000 people as teachers is the highlight of the N6.08 trillion budget estimates for next year presented yesterday to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The proposal, the first by the Buhari administration, seeks to stimulate the economy, making it more competitive by focusing on infrastructural development, delivering inclusive growth and prioritising the welfare of Nigerians.
It is, according to the President, designed to ensure that “we revive our economy, deliver inclusive growth to Nigerians and create a significant number of jobs”.