Nigeria Said to Consider Increasing 2016 Budget by 56 Percent

Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo told ministers last week that the government will consider raising spending in the 2016 budget by 56 percent to as much as 7 trillion naira ($35 billion), even as the country struggles with lower revenue after a drop in oil prices, according to a person who attended the presentation.

Osinbajo said a potential budget for next year may range from 6 trillion to 7 trillion naira, up from the 4.49 trillion naira spending plan for 2015, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Laolu Akande, a spokesman for Osinbajo, didn’t answer calls to his mobile phone or immediately respond to text messages and an e-mail seeking comment on Monday.

In an interview last month, Osinbajo said the Nigerian government plans to spend its way out of slowing growth and that an infrastructure fund will be created with public and private financing. The increased spending in the 2016 budget may come mainly from that fund, said the person who attended the ministerial meeting.

Economic growth slowed to 2.35 percent in the second quarter of 2015, according to Nigeria’s national statistics agency, the lowest this decade, as falling income from crude exports and foreign-exchange shortages hit businesses. The nation relies on oil for about two-thirds of government spending and 90 percent of its export income.

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