Udoma Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning

The Federal Government has blamed the National Assembly for delays in submitting the 2019 budget estimates.

Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning, said though the Presidency had written the National Assembly to indicate a date when it would be convenient for President Muhammadu Buhari to present the budget estimates, the lawmakers were yet to respond to the memo.

Although he kept the figures budgeted for 2019 close to his heart, Buhari convened a special FEC session last Friday where the budget estimates was approved.

“As you already know, the budget is ready. We are liaising with the National Assembly because they are to give us a date. If they say today, we will go. The budget is ready,” he said.

Recall that FEC had on October 24 this year, approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) for the 2019 -2021 to provide template for the 2019 budget.

In the MTF/FSP, N8.73trillion was estimated for the 2019 budget, N400bn lower than that of 2018.

The price of crude oil per barrel was pegged at $60, exchange rate at $305 and daily crude oil production was put at 2.3m by the FEC.

The MTEF/FSP was designed to translate strategic development objective of the economic recovery and growth plan into a realistic and implementable budget framework.

Meanwhile, Udoma also reported a slight increase in Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which was shored up from 1.5 percent in Q2 of 2018 to 1.81 percent in Q3 of the same year.

He said the non-oil sector, which had suffered neglect in previous administrations, facilitated the growth.

According to him, transportation, electricity, telecommunication, metal oils, quarry, among others, grew the GDP by 3.32percent in Q3 and represented the strongest growth trajectory in twelve consecutive quarters since the Q4 of 2015.

He said: “Today, I reported to FEC that we have seen steady recovery from the recession period, the report indicates that the economy when measured by real GDP grew at 1.81percent in the Q3, 2018, compared to 1.5percent in the Q2, 2018.”

“FEC was particularly encouraged to note that economic growth continues to be driven by the non-oil sector which grew by 3.32percent in the 3rd quarter, this has been the strongest growth in non-oil GDP in twelve consecutive quarters since the 4th quarter of 2015.

“By economic activity, non-oil growth was driven by transportation, electricity, telecommunication, metal oils, quarry and so on. In addition, agriculture and manufacturing sectors also grew, agriculture by 1.91 percent manufacturing by 1.92percent these are stronger growth than in the 2nd quarter, so overall, Council was most encouraged by these results which shows improvement in the economy and that our plans are working.”

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