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President Jonathan Approves 2015 Budget, Fuel Subsidy Slashed

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President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the N4.5 trillion ($22.6 billion) budget for 2015, which was passed by the National Assembly in late April, the president’s spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, announced on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

The budget is 3.2 per cent less than last year’s as the country faces a cash crunch following the reduction by half of global crude prices in the past year.

This year’s budget was passed later than normal in part due to the presidential elections held on March 28, 2015.

“I can confirm to you that Mr. President had signed the 2015 budget into law some days back without the usual fanfare,” Abati said.

There could however, be supplements to the budget when incoming president, Muhammadu Buhari, takes office next week. President-elect Buhari is yet to outline his economic policy although he is expected to lessen excessive spending by government officials, including the use of official cars.

The finance ministry was forced to make several downward reviews of the assumed oil price in the budget  before submitting it at $65 a barrel in December. Lawmakers ultimately passed the budget at an even lower level of $53 a barrel.

According to the Vanguard, the fuel subsidy, considered by some to be a heavy burden on the nation’s purse, was also subsequently slashed by 90 per cent due to low income. The Nigerian government relies on oil sales for up to 80 percent of revenues and an expensive election campaign is said to have helped to drain its already limited rainy day fund.

The finance ministry said earlier this month that it had already been forced to use up half of its budgeted borrowing allowance to pay overheads and salaries and has not released any funds for capital expenditure so far this year.

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