Nigeria’s government will adjust spending on wages and major capital projects in this year’s budget and target a bigger fiscal deficit than orginally planned, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who signed a 4.98 trillion naira ($31.6 billion) spending plan on Feb. 27, will send a proposal to the National Assembly to reallocate some spending, Okonjo-Iweala told reporters today in the capital, Abuja. She didn’t give further details.
The budget deficit is estimated to reach 1.85 percent of gross domestic product this year, higher than the 1.2 percent forecast by the government last month, Okonjo-Iweala said. The economy will probably expand 6.5 percent this year, she said.
Nigeria has pledged to rein in spending on salaries in order to divert funds to transport and power projects aimed at boosting economic growth in Africa’s top oil producer.
Jonathan approved the budget more than two months after legislators passed the bill with additional spending of about 60 billion naira. Lawmakers increased the benchmark oil price by $4 to $79 a barrel, providing more funds to the government to spend. The budget also estimates daily oil output at 2.53 million barrels and an average exchange rate of 160 naira to a dollar.
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