The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N26.01 trillion for the 2024 budget, which is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly before the end of the year. The budget is based on an oil price benchmark of $73.96 per barrel, an exchange rate of N700 per dollar, an oil production of 1.78 million barrels per day, a debt service of N8.25 trillion, an inflation rate of 21 percent, and a GDP growth rate of 3.76 percent.
The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu on Monday in Abuja. He said that the budget was designed to consolidate the various economic reforms initiated by the present administration aimed at improving the standard of living of Nigerians and attracting investors.
He said that the budget assumptions were based on the optimistic outlook that investment flows would continue to come in as a result of the diplomatic engagements by the president and other government functionaries. He also said that the government was working towards ensuring that the January to December budget cycle is maintained and that the 2024 budget is passed and signed before December 31, 2023.
He said that the FEC also approved the 2024–2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Papers (FSP), which are required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act to provide a medium-term economic outlook for the economy. He said that the executive would engage with the National Assembly for their input and approval of the documents.
He also announced that the N-Power programme, which is a social intervention scheme aimed at providing jobs and skills to young Nigerians, has been rebranded as the Renewed Hope Job Creation Programme (RHJCP) under the supervision of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Dr. Betta Edu. He said that the new programme would target five million beneficiaries in five years, with one million youths being enrolled each year under the graduate and non-graduate streams.
He assured the beneficiaries of complete transparency and accountability in the payment process. He also urged them to be patient and calm as they await their payments. He said that the federal government was committed to improving the lives of young Nigerians through various social intervention programmes.
Some of the beneficiaries who attended the meeting expressed their appreciation for the update and the assurances given by the programme manager. They said that they had planned a national protest due to inadequate information, but they have now cancelled it after hearing from him. They also expressed their excitement over the new programme and its expanded scope.
The Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, also disclosed that FEC approved the use of concrete for road projects across the country, including those of new ones, depending on the level of completion. He said that FEC also approved the coastal road running from Lagos to Port Harcourt to Calabar and from S4 to Sokoto and Ogoja to be done on engineering, procurement, and construction plus financing.
He said that eight roads that were started in the past administration for concessioning that have gone through all the processes were also approved and that the financial closure should be reached by November. He also said that FEC approved the NNPC and FIRS road projects, which they oversee and fund across the country.