The minister blamed the negative revenue outlook on the declining oil revenue and the series of attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta.
He said: “The 2016 budget performance is reflective of the low revenue out turns attributable to the global and domestic developments earlier highlighted.
“Oil revenues fell significantly in the second quarter, compared to the first quarter, as a result of increased oil pipeline vandalism and production shut-ins.
“Non-oil revenues also declined compared with forecasts in the budget due to slow-down in economic activities and the acute shortage of foreign exchange.”
Current position of expenditure
On the current position of expenditure, Udoma said N2.123 trillion had been spent by the Federal Government, this year.
He revealed that total capital expenditure at the end of June was N331.58 billion, while personnel cost had been fully met at N891.31 billion. Debt service took N598.63 billion; statutory transfers, N175.68 billion; Overhead N125.4 billion. Pension and Gratuity received N79. 18 billion.
Speaking on the administration’s policy on capital expenditure, the minister said, “Government’s focus is to ensure quality of expenditure. Capital releases are based on priorities.”
On revenue projections in the years ahead, the minister said: “We are considering a conservative oil price benchmark of $42.5 pb for 2017, $45 pb in 2018 and $50 pb in 2019. Within the same period, the minister said the government expected an oil production of 2.2 million, 2.3 million and 2.4 million barrels per day, in 2017, 2018, and 2019, respectively.”
On the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate, he said government was projecting a gradual recovery after the slowdown and that a very marginal positive growth of 0.35 per cent was being envisaged this year, with a projection of increase in that direction to 4.4 per cent in 2019- with an average of 3.77 per cent average within the period of the MTEF.
He said: “GDP growth is expected to be largely driven by the non-oil sector with agriculture, including agro-business, solid minerals as well as building and housing playing a lead role. Export-led growth is to be pursued.”
In achieving these goals, the minister said the federal and state governments alone would not be able to bring about the desired results and, therefore, urged private sector operators to play active roles in the diversification efforts towards moving the economy out of its dependence on oil to other sources of exports for foreign exchange earnings.
Udoma also said the Federal Government was reviewing the tax waivers policy to make it more compliant with the principles that had been outlined by the present administration.
After the review, he said, more tax revenues would be harvested by the government in its agenda to increase non-oil revenues.
The minister revealed that his team was working assiduously to ensure an early presentation of the 2017 budget to the National Assembly.
He said nothing was decided on the MTEF proposals yet and that his team would consult widely with all stakeholders, with a view to producing a document that would meet the general expectations of the Nigerian public.
One of the civil society leaders at the forum, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, of the Centre for Social Justice, CSJ, urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to pay more attention to resolving the Niger Delta unrest, in order to create an environment in which the economy could make a quick re-bound as projected by the government.