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A leading economist and financial derivatives analyst, Bismarck Rewane, has said the federal government is not courageous enough to increase its spending in the 2018 budget proposal.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday presented to the National Assembly the 2018 Appropriation Bill which proposed a total expenditure of N8.612 trillion naira, which is an estimated 16 percent higher than the figure for the 2017 budget.

However, when inflation is factored in, there has been no real increase in total expenditure, according to Mr. Rewane.

He said this during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today, about four hours after the budget presentation.

“The figure of N8.6 trillion is 15.7 percent higher than the budgeted figure for last year. The rate of inflation this year is 15.9 percent. So, in real terms, there has been zero growth in expenditure.

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“Because a thousand naira that you had in January will be equal to a thousand naira less 15.5 percent in December. So, if you have increased your budget expenditure from N7.4 trillion to N8.6 trillion which is 15.7 percent, effectively, you have actually increased your budget by zero,” he said

For Rewane, when the parameters of the budget and the realities of the Nigerian economy are taken into consideration, it is clear that this is a time for economic stimulus, a time to increase spending and to be audacious.

“Not just for the sake of spending, but for impactful spending,” he said.

“What the President has done today is an impactful spending programme, but my fear is that it is not audacious enough; it is not bold enough”.

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