Nigeria's president presents 8.83 trillion naira budget for 2019

The spending plan for Africa’s top oil producer assumes crude production of 2.3 million barrels a day and an oil price of $60 per barrel.

FILE: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Picture: AFP.

ABUJA - Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari presented an 8.83 trillion naira ($28.80 billion) budget for 2019 to Parliament on Wednesday, laying out a plan to drive growth two months before an election in which he will seek a second term.

The spending plan for Africa’s top oil producer assumes crude production of 2.3 million barrels a day and an oil price of $60 per barrel. Buhari’s handling of the economy - Africa’s largest by some measures - has become a campaign issue.

The main opposition candidate, businessman and former vice president Atiku Abubakar, has criticised Buhari’s economic policies and has promised to double the size of the economy to $900 billion by 2025 if elected.

The budget is the fourth Buhari has present to parliament since taking office in 2015 but, unlike the others, did not set record high levels of spending as the government seeks to lower debt. He also received a rowdier reception than in the past, with his statements greeted by boos and cheers.

The spending plan is smaller than the record 9.12 trillion-naira budget for 2018 that he signed into law in June. The budget must still be approved by parliament before it can be signed into law, a process that can take many months.

Nigeria’s economy grew by 1.81% in the third quarter of this year, the statistics office said last week. And, in a separate data release days later, it said the inflation rate rose slightly in November to 11.28% compared with a year ago.