FG seeks N11trn for 2023 budget, to borrow more than projected revenue

THE Federal Government is seeking to borrow over N11 trillion to fund the 2023 budget, as it struggles to  steady the country’s fiscal woes.

The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed yesterday that the government was considering sale of national assets to finance the budget deficit in 2023.

Ahmed said the deficit was expected to exceed N12.42 trillion if government kept petroleum subsidy for the entire 2023 fiscal cycle.

She noted that the government was projecting a total revenue of N8.46 trillion, out of which N1.9 trillion was expected to come from oil-related sources, while the balance would come from non-oi sources.

Ahmed gave the information when she appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance to defend the 2023-2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

Explaining two scenarios of the budget deficit to the committee, the minister said the first option involves retaining the petroleum subsidy for the entire 2023 fiscal year.

According to her, in the first scenario, the deficit is projected to be N12.41 trillion in 2023, up from N7.35 trillion budgeted in 2022, representing 196 per cent of total revenue, or 5.50 per cent of the estimated gross domestic product (GDP). In this option, she said, the government would be spending N6.72 trillion on subsidy.

The second option involves keeping subsidy till June 2023, which is expected to take the deficit to N11.30 trillion, a 5.01 per cent figure of the estimated GDP. In this option, petrol subsidy is projected to gulp N3.3 trillion.






     

     

    She noted that the first option was not likely to be achievable based on the current trend, while the second option would require tighter enforcement of the performance management framework for government-owned enterprises that would significantly increase operating surplus in 2023.

    The minister expected the projected deficit under the second option to be financed through new borrowings from local and international sources.

    The new borrowings, a total of N9.32 trillion, will comprise N7.4 trillion from domestic sources and N1.8 trillion from foreign sources.

    The government is expected to generate N206.1 billion from privatisation proceeds and N1.7 trillion in multilateral project-tied loans.

     

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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