Nigeria’s President Buhari outlines his 2018 Budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The President presented a budget of N8.6 trillion for the fiscal year 2018 wherein he targeted an oil benchmark price of $45, exchange rate of N305/$1, oil production target of 2.3 million barrels/day, inflation rate of 12.4 percent, and GDP growth of 3.5 percent.
The President also said relatively higher crude oil prices had helped “supported our economic recovery”. Despite claiming to rely heavily on oil, yet again, in 2018, the President did not provide detail on some of the initiatives outlined to improve the fortunes of the oil sector in 2018.
A big example is the PIG Bill which was passed by the Senate in May and only passed second reading by the House of Reps, remains in the cooler. The bill has been cited as a tool that could unlock about $20 billion in investments in the oil sector.
The President’s inability to expatiate on it strategies for developing the oil sector is perhaps a reflection of its attitude towards privatising the NNPC.
The President also failed to address plans to revive the ailing educational sector in the country. Despite budgeting over N400 billion for education, he failed to reveal further details outlining its approach to turnaround the fortunes of the sector. This suggest once again that education is not a priority of the government.
The president only mentioned the word “jobs” three times and did not mention the word “unemployment”. This also sends signals that reducing Nigeria’s unemployment rate, especially for the Youth is not a focal point of its policies.