ABUJA, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s government plans to spend 500 billion naira ($2.5 billion) in 2016 on social welfare programmes for the poorest people in Africa’s most populous nation, draft budget plans sent to lawmakers on Tuesday showed.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday it had decided on a 6 trillion naira ($30.3 billion) budget for 2016, a 1.5 trillion naira rise on last year despite low oil prices that have hit Africa’s biggest economy hard.
Buhari, who took office in May, has said his administration wants to end the reliance on oil revenues by boosting the agriculture and mining sectors in the hope of creating jobs.
The president has also said he wants to provide a welfare support programme for the poorest people in the nation of 170 million inhabitants.
“The federal government will collaborate with state governments to institute well-structured social welfare intervention programmes,” stated the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for 2016-2019, which is now with lawmakers.
The document, which lays down guidelines for the final 2016 budget, referred to payment schemes for those out of work, as well as free meals for school children.
“Five hundred billion naira has been provisioned in the 2016 budget as social investments for these programmes. These interventions will start as a pilot scheme and work towards securing the support of donor agencies,” stated the paper.
Budget and Planning Minister Udoma Udo Udoma has said 30 percent of next year’s budget would be allocated for capital expenditure, up from around 15 percent in 2015.
He said ministers in the continent’s top crude producer, which depends on oil receipts for 70 percent of government revenues, aimed to fund this through a rise in non-oil revenues.
The draft budget framework assumes an oil price of $38 a barrel and oil production at 2.2 million barrels per day. Lawmakers passed the 2015 budget at $53 a barrel in April.
However, figures in the draft framework can be changed until parliamentarians approve the budget. The speed with which the plans are approved by the national assembly will dictate when the next budget will be implemented. ($1 = 197.9700 naira) (Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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