Nigeria’s Buhari presents record budget for 2017 in bid to end recession – Reuters

By Paul Carsten and Ulf Laessing

LAGOS Dec 14 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday presented a record 7.298 trillion naira ($24 billion) budget for 2017 to lawmakers which is aimed at pulling Africa’s biggest economy out of its first recession in 25 years.

The budget, which Buhari said marked an increase of 20.4 percent on last year’s spending plan, seeks to boost spending to revive the economy. The recession was largely caused by low global oil prices, as crude sales account for two-thirds of the government’s revenue.

Buhari said the budget was based on an exchange rate of 305 naira to the dollar and a projected oil output of 2.2 million barrels per day at an assumed price of $42.5 dollars per barrel.

The president also said he wants to restore oil output to 2.2 million barrels per day following a series of attacks since January on energy facilities in the southern Niger Delta that deepened the recession by hitting the economic mainstay.

The attacks cut oil production in the OPEC member, which stood at around 2.1 million barrels per day at the start of 2016, by more than a third earlier this year. “We must all come together” to achieve peace in the Niger Delta, Buhari said.

The budget must be agreed by parliament before being sent back to the president to be passed into law, which could take months. The 2016 budget became law in May after being delayed by several months by wrangling between the government and the upper house of parliament. (Additional reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Chijioke Uhocha and Hugh Lawson)