Full speech: Buhari proposes N20.5tr budget for 2023

by Amos Kalu

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Friday, presented the 2023 appropriation bill.

Buhari presented the 2023 appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja.

Read the President’s full speech below:

Explaining further, he said the government will spend N20.15tn for the 2023 fiscal year.

I am very pleased to be here today to present the 2023 Budget Proposals at this Joint Session of the National Assembly. This is the last time I will be laying the budget of the Federal Government of Nigeria before the National Assembly.

2. Mr. President; Mr. Speaker: As I address this Joint Session on the Budget for the last time, let me highlight some of the progress that we have made in the last seven and half years, in just two important areas of Critical Infrastructure and Good Governance.

3. We have made transformational investments in Infrastructure, notably:

a. Establishing the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (‘InfraCorp’), in 2021, seed capital of N1 trillion from the Central Bank of Nigeria (‘CBN’), the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (‘NSIA’), and the Africa Finance Corporation (‘AFC’);

b. Leveraging finance through the NSIA into the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (‘PIDF’) to facilitate the accelerated completion of the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and Abuja-Kano Road;

c. Through the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme pursuant to Executive Order #7 of 2019, incentivised responsible companies to invest billions of Naira in constructing over 1,500km of critical roads in key economic corridors. Under this Scheme, the Dangote Group has substantially completed the Reconstruction of the 34km Apapa-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway and the 43km Obajana-Kabba Road. Similarly, Nigeria LNG Limited is on track to complete the 38km Bodo-Bonny Road and Bridges Project by the end of 2023;

d. Under our Sukuk Bonds scheme, since 2017, over N600 billion has been raised and invested in 941km for over 40 critical road projects nationwide, complementing the Ministry of Works and Housing’s Highway Development and Management Initiative and other interventions;

e. Investing significantly to restore our national railways, completing and commissioning the 156km Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail (and its 8.72km extension to Lagos Port); the 186km Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge Rail; and 327km Itakpe-Warri Standard Gauge Rail. These completed projects complement our ongoing investments in Light Rail, Narrow and Standard Gauge Rail, Ancillary Facilities Yards, Wagon Assembly Plants, and E-Ticketing infrastructure as well as the training and development of our rail engineers and other workers;

f. We have completed New Airport Terminals at Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Port Harcourt, and reconstructed the Abuja Airport Runway in its first overhaul since its construction in the early 1980s.

g. Other investments in airports safety facilities, and aeronautical meteorological services delivery complement the ongoing development of seaports and ancillary infrastructure at the Lekki Deep Sea Port, Bonny Deep Sea Port, Onitsha River Port, as well as the Kaduna, Kano, and Katsina Inland Dry Ports to create a truly multimodal transport system;

h. We have transformed Nigeria’s challenging power sector, through bespoke interventions such as the Siemens Power Program, with the German government under which over 2 billion US Dollars will be invested in the Transmission Grid.

i. We have leveraged billions of US dollars in concessional and other funds from our partners at the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, African Development Bank, and JICA as well as through the Central Bank of Nigeria, working with the Finance Ministry, to support the power sector reforms.

j. The Central Bank has also been impactful in its interventions to roll out over a million meters to on-grid consumers, creating much-needed jobs in assembly and installation. Our financing interventions have recently been complemented with the takeover of four electricity distribution companies and the constitution of the Board of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company.

k. On the generation side, we have made significant investments in an incremental 4,000MW of power-generating assets, including Zungeru Hydro, Kashimbila Hydro, Afam III Fast Power, Kudenda Kaduna Power Plant, the Okpai Phase 2 Plant, the Dangote Refinery Power Plant, and others.

l. Our generation efforts are making the transition from a reliance on oil and diesel to gas as a transitional fuel, as well as environmentally friendly solar and hydro sources. Under the Energising Education Programme, we have commissioned solar and gas power solutions at Federal Universities and Teaching Hospitals in Kano, Ebonyi, Bauchi, and the Delta States. Similarly, our Energising Economies Programme has taken clean, sustainable power solutions to the Sabon-Gari Market in Kano, Ariaria Market in Aba, and Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos.

4. In terms of Good Governance, one significant challenge this Administration met at our inception was the inability of successive Governments to institutionalize reforms to ensure their sustainability. We inherited an archaic set of corporate, banking, and capital markets laws; drafted but unenacted Bills to reform the critical petroleum sector; an unimplemented Oronsaye White Paper to reform our civil service, amongst others.

5. I was therefore committed, at the onset of this Administration’s Good Governance and Fighting Corruption Reforms, to focus on the much-neglected area of law reform, to bequeath a better legacy to the succeeding Administration, than the one we met. Our innovative, encompassing and historically significant legislative interventions include:

a. Critical corporate and financial laws to enhance our countries’ global competitiveness, including the repeal and re-enactment of Companies and Allied Matters Act (‘CAMA’) 2020 – the first comprehensive reform since 1990; enacting the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) Bill, the first legislation in Nigeria’s history focused on curbing anti-competition practices; establishing the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission; re-pealing and re-enacting the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020; enacting the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON (Amendment) Acts of 2019 and 2021; enacting the Credit Reporting Act (CRA) 2017 and Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act (STMAA) 2017, to mention our major legislative interventions;

b. Fundamental anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, and financial intelligence laws, such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 (being the first comprehensive reform of Police legislation since the Police Act of 1943); the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2017 (which resolved the longstanding impediments to Nigeria’s full participation in the global efforts to combat illicit financing of terrorism and crime under the auspices of the global Egmont Group); the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022; the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022, Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022; Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, 2019; Nigerian Correctional Services Act, 2019; Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act, 2019; amongst others.

c. Historic reforms to our Constitutional and other public laws, including the first-ever amendments to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to support the engagement of young persons in our politics by passing Not Too Young to Run legislation, as well as to improve the funding and independence of States’ Legislatures and Judiciaries; enacting overdue reforms through the Electoral Act, 2022;

d. Finally enacting into law the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 after close to two decades of drafting, debates, and delays – leading to the commercialization of NNPC Limited, and other much-needed reforms to our energy sector. This important law also complements other landmark legislations such as the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, 1993 (Amendment) Act, 2019, to increase oil and gas revenues accruing to the Federation;

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