Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has disclosed that preliminary works for the 2017 budget have begun in earnest, adding that recoveries of misappropriated and looted funds would also be used in funding part of the 2017 budget.
During a Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum with Civil Society Groups and organised private sector, Senator Udoma said the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (METF) would be ready and submitted to the National Assembly for consideration by October.
Giving insight into the 2017 budget, he said demand and supply factors are expected to keep crude oil prices low in the medium term compared to the period prior to mid-2014.
According to him, government is considering a conservative oil price benchmark of $42.5 per barrel for 2017, $45 per barrel in 2018 and $50 per barrel in 2019.
Oil production is estimated to be 2.2million barrel per day for 2017 , 2.3million barrel per day in 2018 and 2.4million barrel per day for 2019. The exchange rate has been pegged for 2017, 2018 and 2019 at N290 to a dollar.
While disclosing that recovered looted funds would be used in funding part of the 2017 budget, he pointed out that N2.1trillion had so far been expended out of the N6.06trillion budgeted for 2016.
He, however, added that only N253billion out of the N1.8trillion earmarked for capital projects had been spent so far. Government , he said, would continue in its effort to diversify its revenue sources to non-oil sectors.
A significant increase in non-oil revenue receipts is projected due to a gradually recovering domestic economy and government’s expected improvement in Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS ) tax collection efforts.
Company Income Tax is projected to increase from N1.79trillion in 2016 to over N1.86trillion in 2017 and beyond while Value Added Tax (VAT) collections is to increase by about 42.4 percent in 2017.
Operating surpluses projection have been moderated downwards for 2017 and thereafter a modest growth.
He said customs collections are projected to moderate downwards for 2017 and thereafter a modest growth. Part of the fiscal strategies for the three years would be in building on the framework of the 2016-2020 medium term development plan and strategic implementation plan for the 2016 budget.
The Minister said it is designed to reflate the economy out of recession to a sustainable and inclusive growth path. He disclosed that government would extensively engage with the private sector to explain its policies and establish what other bottlenecks needed to be removed to stimulate investment in Nigeria.