Budget talks in Nigeria


Nigeria’s presidency and lawmakers are still in talks over the record 7.44 trillion naira ($24.45 billion) budget for 2017, a government official said , nearly three weeks after the spending plans were passed by the Senate.

The budget aims to drag the OPEC member, which has Africa’s biggest economy, out of a recession brought on by low global oil prices that slashed government revenues, weakened the currency and caused chronic dollar shortages.

Both chambers of parliament agreed to a bigger budget than the 7.298 trillion naira draft spending plan submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari in December.

The budget must be signed by the president to become law. Buhari is on medical leave in Britain for an unspecified ailment and has handed power to his deputy Yemi Osinbajo, who would sign the budget in Buhari’s absence.
“There are ongoing consultations between the executive and the legislature over the budget. Consultations have not been concluded,” said Ita Enang, senior special assistant to the president on Senate matters, without giving details.

The Senate passed the budget on May 11.

Last year’s budget, passed in May 2016, was delayed for months due to disagreements between lawmakers and the presidency over spending plans which cut the supply of government money and deepened the economic crisis.

Gross domestic product in Nigeria, in its second year of recession, shrank 0.52% year-on-year in the first quarter.