Nigeria May Fall Short on Pledged Budget Spending, Minister Says

Nigeria may fail to deliver all of the spending promised in this year’s budget in light of “the current economic realities,” Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said.

Approval of the 2016 budget in Africa’s largest economy was repeatedly delayed after the withdrawal of an early version to make corrections, the slump in oil prices that forced the government to revise revenue estimates and by squabbling over ministry allocations.

Central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele has said the delay deprived the country of a much-needed stimulus, causing the economy to contract in the first quarter and that the nation is now heading into an “imminent” recession. The oil-producing economy is also under strain from a decline in crude output to a 20-year low.

On May 6, President Muhammadu Buhari signed a record budget of 6.1 trillion naira ($31 billion) with a deficit of 2.2 trillion naira, or 2.1 percent of gross domestic product.

“I cannot promise that every single agency would receive every money appropriated for them,” Adeosun told parliament in the capital, Abuja, on Thursday, according to an e-mailed statement. “The budget is an estimate and funds would be released based on revenue.”

Capital projects that are well planned and likely to materialize will be given priority, she said.

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