Nigeria’s president signs ambitious 2019 budget

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed an ambitious budget into law on Monday, days ahead of the official start of his second term leading Africa’s largest oil producer.

Buhari approved the spending plan worth 8.92 trillion naira – about $29 billion based on the official fixed exchange rate of 305 naira to the dollar.

Floating exchange rates used by banks put the budget at some $25 billion dollars, or 22 billion euros.

Analysts have criticised budgets under Buhari as “unrealistic”, saying they were based on an over-estimation of available income amid volatile global crude prices.

“The big problem is that, like in 2016 and 2017, the revenue expectation has been very high,” said economic analyst Nonso Obiliki.

“This year the revenue projection is even higher, even though they didn’t reach the target the previous years.”

Nigeria is one of Africa’s biggest economies. The budget is predicated on crude oil sale of $60 per barrel, and crude production of 2.3 million barrels per day.

The economy has suffered difficult times in recent years.

After emerging in 2017 from its deepest recession in decades and millions of job losses, Nigeria’s economy returned to growth – increasing by two percent in 2018.

But growth is still less than a third of the pace it was five years ago.

Recently re-elected Buhari has pledged to increase growth and jobs for Nigeria’s young and rapidly growing population.

He is due to be sworn into office for his next four-year term on Wednesday.