Nigeria's economy - growth
President Muhammadu Buhari

Ahead of the official swearing-in ceremonies for the newly-elected political office holders as well as the celebration of the new Democracy Day on June 12, President Muhammadu Buhari gave Nigerians the perfect gift when he appended his signature to the 2019 appropriation bill.

The President signed the N8.91 trillion Budget into law in the early hours on Monday, at a ceremony held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Note that the signing of the budget comes just less than two weeks after the Nigerian Senate passed the Public Holiday Act Amendment Bill to recognise June 12 as the new Democracy Day.

2019 Budget by Numbers: Yesterday’s signing of the 2019 budget makes it about five months since the President first presented it before a joint session of the National Assembly.

Earlier, the President presented N8.906 trillion budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The budget was predicated on $60 per barrel of oil benchmark at 2.3m litres per day, exchange rate of N305 to $1, a GDP growth rate of 3.01 percent, and an inflation rate of 9.98 percent. However, when the appropriation bill got to the floor of the National Assembly last month, the budget was raised from N8.906 trillion to N8.916 ‎trillion.

  • The sum of N2.094 trillion was allocated to capital expenditure,
  • Recurrent expenditure got N4.055 trillion
  • Statutory transfers N502 billion
  • Fiscal deficit was raised to N1.908 trillion
  • Special intervention fund N500 billion

An upturn in the economy: The signing of the 2019 budget must mean a lot to Nigerians. Despite the Presidency’s earlier dismissal of reports that many projects have been halted due to delay in the signing of the 2019 budget, the approval of the budget is expected to send some excitements to both local and foreign investors, thereby catalysing economic activities.

Below are some highlights of the trickle-down effects of the budget:

  • The approval budget implementation would ease up the economy, by clearing policy uncertainties repelling investors
  • Capital expenditure on infrastructures will move into full swings following the implementation
  • Lastly, this will trickle down on business activities, as more funds enter into the circulation for use by economic agents, which will spur productivity.

Some critical downside: Prior to signing the budget, President Buhari expressed some concerns when he noted that the N90 billion adjustment to the budget by the National Assembly could affect its smooth implementation.

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“Of course, some of these changes will adversely impact our programmes, making it difficult for us to achieve the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“Although I will be signing this bill, it is my intention to engage the National Assembly to ensure we deliver on our promises.” -Buhari

More troubles ahead: Workers, particularly, the civil servants, must have greeted the development with a great sigh of relief, as the new N30,000 minimum wage is now expected to go into full swing.  However, the same cannot be said for State Governors who must be having difficult times trying to figure out how to implement the new national minimum wage.

Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated on Sunday that the signing of the budget is what stands between new minimum wage and its implementation.

According to Ngige, state Governors may get into serious trade disputes if the new wage implementation is not strategically handled. He further stated that Governors must pay salary arrears because the new wage already started on April 18th.

In conclusion, it should be noted that even though the President’s signing of the 2019 appropriation bill is a positive development, trouble looms as State Governors and the organised labour could clash over the implementation of the new minimum wage.

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