President Jonathan delivering his budget speech to the National Assembly
By Muhammad Bello
Security will apparently be the top agenda for government next year as defence and police affairs trail education, which has been allotted the lion’s share of the proposed 2013 budget presented to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja Wednesday.
According to President Jonathan, the allocation is predicated on the premium that government places on the unity of the country, which he said is non-negotiable.
“Our focus on critical economic and social sectors continues. Some of these sectors are largely driven by private sector activity, while others require a great deal of public sector support. Some key allocations are as follows: Works – N183.5 billion; Power - N74.26 billion; Education – N426.53 billion; Health – N279.23 billion; Defence – N348.91 billion; Police – N319.65 billion; and Agriculture and Rural Development – N81.41 billion,” he explained.
Projecting “the gross federally collectible revenue” at N10.84 trillion, the President forecasted what will be available for the Federal Government’s Budget is N3.89 trillion, “representing an increase of about 9% over the estimate for 2012.”
He stated: “An aggregate expenditure of N4.92 trillion is proposed for the main budget of the 2013 fiscal year, representing a modest increase of about 5% over the N4.7 trillion appropriated for 2012. This is made up of N380.02 billion for Statutory Transfers, N591.76 billion for Debt Service, N2.41 trillion for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure and N1.54 trillion for Capital Expenditure.
He further emphasized that: “the fiscal deficit is projected to improve to about 2.17% of GDP in the 2013 Budget compared to 2.85% in 2012. This is well within the threshold stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and clearly highlights our commitment to fiscal prudence. We are determined to further rein in domestic borrowing, and this way, ensure that our debt stock remains at a sustainable level.”
Turning to Fiscal Policy, the president said in order to promote Nigerian agriculture and industry, additional supportive fiscal measures will come on stream with effect January 1, 2013 to boost sugar production locally, discourage rice importation and improve air safety.
According to him, machinery and spare parts imported for local sugar manufacturing industries will attract 0% duty, a 5-year tax holiday for “sugarcane to sugar” value chain investors; while import duty and levy on raw sugar will be 10% and 50% respectively, just as refined sugar will attract 20% duty and 60% levy.
As for Rice “a 10% import duty and 100% levy will be applied to both brown and polished rice”, while “all commercial aircraft and aircraft spare parts imported for use in Nigeria will now attract 0% duty and 0% VAT,” in order to “improve safety in our skies as newer fleet and less onerous maintenance will prevail,” he announced.
Solid Minerals and public mass transit also got similar incentives to facilitate importation of machinery and equipment imported for use in the solid minerals sector and to encourage the production of mass transit vehicles in Nigeria.