Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has just presented the 2015 budget estimates of about 4.3 trillion Naira before the National Assembly.
She laid the document in separate appearances before the Senate and the House of Representatives.
There was not a joint sitting of the two chambers which has been the tradition, as President Goodluck Jonathan already delegated Okonjo-Iweala to present the estimates on his behalf.
The Coordinating Minister of the Economy was accompanied to the National Assembly with a retinue of other ministers and the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr. Bright Okogu.
Breakdown Of The Budget
No speeches were made during the ceremony, which was quite brief.
After the presentation of the budget, the Minister of Finance, gave a breakdown of the budget to key players in the finance sector.
According to the Minister, 633 billion Naira is for capital expenditure while 261 billion Naira is for recurrent.
Although this year’s budget comes at a time when oil prices has been on the decline, she said necessary measures had been taken to mitigate any negative effects on the masses.
She announced a $65 oil benchmark price for the 2015 budget.
“We are going to stick to the benchmark in spite of the declining price of crude because we feel that the average price next year would be about $65 to $70.“The production level is 2.27 million barrels per day.
“Based on the new economic parameters for the country, down from 6.35 to 5.5 per cent next year. But that is still one of the fastest growth rate that we are experiencing the world right now.
“This budget point to the fact that this country is a non-oil country and I think we want Nigerians to begin to think of the country in that way. So, we have worked very hard with the guidance of Mr President to move on non-oil revenue.
“We have closed many loopholes and leakages, broadened the tax base and looked at other parameters,” the Minister said.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala further said that the implementation rate of the 2014 budget was put at 78 per cent.
Part of the strategies that had been put in place to ensure that more revenue was generated was the adoption of the Federal Capital Territory Mansion Tax on residential properties worth 300 million.
The Director General of the budget office, Dr Okogwu, further gave an in-depth analysis of the 2015 budget.
In the breakdown, a total of 124 billion Naira has been proposed for distribution for the Federal Governments Subsidy Reinvestment Programme.
Programmes, such as the building of social safety nets for conditional cash transfers to less privileged families, have also been encapsulated into the 4.4 trillion Naira budget for 2015.
Nigerians and members of the international community will be watching to see if all of these policies will be of impact to the ordinary Nigerian.