In a significant address to the joint session of the National Assembly, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Wednesday laid out the blueprint for Nigeria’s 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope as a compass guiding the nation towards a more secure, prosperous and sustainable future.
At the forefront of this ambitious plan are key priorities that echo the pressing needs of the nation: national defence, internal security, job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital development, poverty reduction and social security.
The President’s commitment to overhauling the nation’s internal security architecture reflects a proactive response to the evolving challenges facing the country namely the perennial Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, oil theft and pipeline vandalism, militancy, violence between herders and farmers, and separatist agitations, among others.
By enhancing law enforcement capabilities, the President aims to safeguard lives, property and investments across the nation. This strategic move would lay the foundation for a more secure and stable environment, critical for sustained development.
One of the standout features of the proposed budget is its emphasis on human capital development, with a particular focus on children. The President rightly recognizes that human capital is the linchpin for national development.
In acknowledging this, the budget prioritises education, proposing a sustainable model for funding tertiary education, including the implementation of a Student Loan Scheme scheduled to be operational by January 2024.
This forward-looking approach addresses long-standing issues in the education sector, ensuring that the younger generation is equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary for the challenges of the future.
Economic stability takes centre stage in the President’s vision for the nation’s prosperity. The President underlined the administration’s commitment to catalyzing private investment and accelerating economic growth. With an ambitious target of a minimum 3.76 per cent economic growth, surpassing the forecasted world average, the government sets a high bar for itself. This commitment is underscored by the expectation of a moderated inflation rate of 21.4 per cent in 2024.
In preparing the 2024 budget, the primary objective is to sustain the robust foundation for sustainable economic development. A significant focus is placed on Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future.
The President emphasised public-private partnerships, strategically allocating resources to leverage private capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects, particularly in energy and transportation. This marks a critical step towards diversifying the nation’s energy mix, enhancing efficiency, and fostering the development of renewable energy sources.
As the COP28 climate summit commended in Dubai, the President directed government agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments to bolster Nigeria’s energy transition. This directive reflects the administration’s recognition of the importance of international partnerships and investments in aligning with national goals and contributing to the global movement towards clean and sustainable energy.
The call for proactive engagement from the lawmakers underscores the urgency and opportunity to showcase the country’s strides in creating an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects.
A meticulous review of the global oil market trends informs the adoption of a conservative oil price benchmark and daily oil production estimates. Additionally, an exchange rate of 750 naira per U.S. Dollar for 2024 demonstrates a prudent approach to financial planning.
Breaking down the 2024 Appropriation Bill, the President provided a comprehensive financial landscape. An aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion naira is proposed, with a focus on non-debt recurrent expenditure, debt service and capital expenditure. The commitment to meeting debt obligations is evident, with projected debt service constituting 45% of expected total revenue.
Addressing concerns about the budget deficit, the President outlined a lower deficit compared to the previous year, indicating a commitment to fiscal responsibility. Financing the deficit involves a combination of new borrowings, proceeds from privatization and drawdowns on multilateral and bilateral loans. This strategic approach ensures that the nation’s development projects are adequately funded, laying the groundwork for sustained economic growth.
Tinubu’s administration appears to remain resolute in its commitment to broad-based and shared economic prosperity. A comprehensive review of the administration’s social investment programme aims to enhance implementation and effectiveness.
Notably, the expansion of the National Social Safety Net project to provide targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households underscores a commitment to inclusive growth.
Efforts to contain financial leakages through key public financial management reforms demonstrate a commitment to transparency and accountability.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commendation of the 10th National Assembly’s resolve to collaborate with the executive arm of government reinforces the collaborative spirit necessary to deliver on the budget promises and the Renewed Hope for the country’s population.
As the 10th National Assembly reviews the 2024 budget estimates, the President’s call to sustain a predictable January-December fiscal year echoes a commitment to effective governance.
Also, the President’s call for the lawmakers to ensure that only projects and programmes with equitable benefits, aligned with sectoral mandates, find a place in the budget underscores his administration’s dedication to responsible fiscal planning.
As the country navigates the challenges ahead, the 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope sets a course for a more secure, prosperous, and sustainable future.