2024 Budget: His Goal is to Graduate the Cash Transfer Recipients from Dependence to Independence

President Bola Tinubu has presented his first full-year Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly, with a total expenditure of N27.5 trillion for the year 2024.

The budget, which he named the ‘Budget of Renewed Hope’, reflects his administration’s vision of delivering economic growth, social welfare, and security for Nigerians.

The budget proposal was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Monday, after the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, presented it to the council.

On Wednesday, President Tinubu made history as he personally presented the budget to the joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Force of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The budget breakdown shows that the government expects to generate N18.32 trillion in total revenue, while the total deficit is projected at N9.18 trillion.

The core spending includes N9.92 trillion for non-debt recurrent expenditure, N8.73 trillion for capital expenditure, and N8.25 trillion for debt servicing.

The budget also provides for a Supplementary Budget of N1.5 trillion to address some unforeseen challenges, especially the impact of the removal of the petrol subsidy, which has increased the cost of living and led to some disputes with the organised Labour.

The major sectoral allocations in the budget are as follows: Defence and Security, which gets the highest allocation of N3.25 trillion; Education, which gets N2.18 trillion; Health, which gets N1.33 trillion; Infrastructure, which gets N1.32 trillion; Students Loan, which gets N700 billion; and Social Investment and Poverty Alleviation, which gets N534 billion.

The budget is christened after the administration’s primary slogan, ‘Renewed Hope’, which has become synonymous with Tinubuism and Tinubunomics.

The President said that the budget aims to renew the hope of every segment of society and all persuasions, especially the most vulnerable and the bulk of the population. He said that he is focused on human capital development and particularly the children.

To illustrate his targets, he pointed out that the combined allocations for Education and Students Loan amount to almost N3 trillion, which shows his commitment to investing in the younger generation.

He also noted that the combined allocations for Health and Social Investment amount to almost N2 trillion, which demonstrates his concern for the social welfare of the people. He added that the allocation for Defence and Security, along with Infrastructure, amount to more than N5.6 trillion, which indicates his determination to ensure the safety and development of the country.

“The proposed Budget seeks to achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better quality of life for our people, and the restoration of our national pride and dignity,” the President said.

He urged the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the budget, so that the implementation can commence in January 2024. He also thanked the lawmakers for their cooperation and support for his administration.

To understand his targets, take the allocations for Education and Students Loan together, then you will have almost N3 trillion of the budget devoted to a sector prevalently for the younger generation.

Similarly, take Health and Social Investment together, you will have almost N2 trillion of the budget targeting social welfare. Then talk of Security and Defence, which every citizen, rich or poor, old or young, is interested in, added to infrastructure, you are looking at more than N5.6 trillion of the budget, all of these targeting renewing the hope of all.

“The proposed Budget seeks to achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better investment environment, enhanced human capital development, as well as poverty reduction and greater access to social security. Defense and internal security are accorded top priority. The internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities and safeguard lives, property and investments across the country. Human capital is the most critical resource for national development. Accordingly, the budget prioritizes human development with particular attention to children, the foundation of our nation”, he said.

Then he revealed the most critical of his plans for the most vulnerable of the population, part of the schemes to pull more than fifty millions out of poverty. There is the Conditional Cash Transfer, which gift cash on a monthly basis to the category identified as the most vulnerable; more than 61 million, belonging to 15 million households, from the more than 200 million total population. This category, according to him, will not perpetually remain in that class because the Renewed Hope Agenda intends to graduate them into a whole new category, delivered from dependence on government’s handouts to moderate productive activities and employment.

“Our government remains committed to broad-based and shared economic prosperity. We are reviewing social investment programmes to enhance their implementation and effectiveness. In particular, the National Social Safety Net project will be expanded to provide targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households. In addition, efforts will be made to graduate existing beneficiaries toward productive activities and employment”, he said.

Of course, Nigerians have continued to follow the progress and activities of Jagaban’s administration. They have also continued to hold their opinions and views of his style and in the current circumstance, there have been an out-pouring of these opinions and views, mostly positive and placing the projections in the budget very reliable.

Mr Emmanuel Addeh, an Abuja-based media practitioner, who has followed and reported the Nigerian oil industry over the years, took a particular interest in the planned funding of the budget, especially oil revenue, noting that the plan is quite accurate and reliable.

“The oil and gas industry remains critical to the growth of the Nigerian economy, given that about 90 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings come from the sector.

“In 2024, the Tinubu-led administration has pegged Nigeria’s expected daily crude production at 1.78 million barrels. At first glance, this would appear outrageous and unrealistic, given Nigeria’s underwhelming output trajectory in the last three years. But then, the administration’s renewed battle against oil thieves and attendant vandalism of oil assets in the Niger Delta, appear to be bearing fruits.

 “From a low of about 900,000 barrels per day in the second quarter of 2022, the country’s total volume of output rose to 1.35 million barrels per day in October this year. That is, excluding condensates, which when added gave the country over 1.5 million barrels per day.

“So, the optimistic projected production figure of 1.78 million barrels per day for 2024 may not be unfounded or baseless after all. There’s also the issue of crude oil pricing. While the commodity has mostly sold for over $85 per barrel on average in the last one year, the 2024 budget has been benchmarked against $77.96.

“This appears realistic and even conservative, against the backdrop that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) continues to cut supply to ensure price stability. So, overall Tinubu appears to be on track, relating to the forecasts for the sector”, Addeh said.

Also reviewing the budget, Mallam Bolaji Lawal, a businessman, with a background in Banking and Agribusiness, noted that the 2024 Budget is designed to take Nigeria to economic growth and development, having managed the initial topsy turvy that trailed fuel subsidy removal, deploying the Supplementary Budget.

Describing President Tinubu as a meticulous planner and an articulate organizer, going by the details of the 2024 Budget, Lawal said “the 2024 Budget preparation did not start with the preparation for its passage, rather it started from the very first day President Tinubu was sworn in, further proving his preparedness for the job.

“The President started with the end in mind as demonstrated by the objective of his supplementary budget, which sought to fund the items needed to restore macro-economic stability and mitigate the harsh impact of subsidy removal. That budget sought to sustain national security need, invest in urgent infrastructural needs and support to the most vulnerable in our society.

“Having stabilized the polity, the President is poised to use the revised 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Papers (FSP) to achieve his goals, post 2024. Some of these goals include: Reduction of Budget deficit from 6.11% of GDP in 2023 to 3.88% of GDP in 2024, increasing capital spending, completing critical infrastructural projects, provide job-rich economic growth, enhance human capital development, greater access to social security, overhauling internal security architecture.

 “The above goals seek to improve the overall economy and standard of living of Nigerians in the following ways: contain rising domestic prices, lowering cost of doing business and living, sustainable model of funding tertiary education etc. It is clear that Tinubu is on a quest to reset Nigeria for job induced growth with his Budget of Renewed Hope with an aggregate expenditure of 27.5 trillion Naira”, he said.

Besides the 2024 Budget, the week still witnessed a couple of other things. For instance, there were a number of appointments, including the appointment, on Monday, of the Board and Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), where he appointed Chief Pius Akinyelure as non-Executive Chairman, returned Mele Kyari as the Group Chief Executive Officer and Ogoni leader, Ledum Mitee, as a non-Executive Director.

Then on Wednesday, he headed to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as Conference of the Parties (COP28), where he, on Thursday, met with King Charles III, and on Friday witnessed Nigerian signing an accelerated performance agreement with Germany’s Siemens, aimed at expediting the implementation of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) to improve electricity supply in Nigeria.

The week ended and a new one is starting today to see the Jagaban, who is expected back home today or tomorrow, Monday, resume back at his desk, continuing with the work of saving the country from failure.

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