Nigerian Lawmakers Approve Record Budget for 2016 After Delays

Nigerian lawmakers approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s proposals to spend a record 6.08 trillion naira ($30.5 billion) in 2016 to help the economy ride out the oil slump.

The West African nation plans to spend 1.8 trillion naira on capital projects, 1.5 trillion naira to service debts and 2.65 trillion naira on recurrent expenditures excluding debt, Senate President Bukola Saraki said in parliament in the capital, Abuja, on Wednesday. Lawmakers had for months postponed voting on the budget amid complaints it was presented to them late and the document contained several mistakes and discrepancies.

“The budget reflects efficient and equitable allocation of resources,” Saraki said. “For once there was no bickering over the benchmark oil price, but rather we all devoted time and energy to ensure that we have a budget that is implementable.”

The spending plan factored in oil at $38 per barrel and projected output of of 2.2 million barrels a day. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and its largest economy.

The country has faced a crisis since the price of crude, the source of two-thirds of government revenue, plunged from the peak reached in 2014. The government plans to increase tax income and sell debt to cover the funding shortfall.

Buhari needs to sign the bill approved by lawmakers for it to come into effect.

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