2018: Buhari Bans Fresh Recruitment By MDAs
– President Muhammadu Buhari has banned fresh recruitment by MDAs
– Buhari made the declaration on while presenting 2018 budget to a joint session of National Assembly
– He said that henceforth all MDAs must get presidential approval before any recruitment is done
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, November 7, banned fresh recruitment by all federal government ministries, departments and agencies, except by presidential approval.
Punch reports that Buhari said this was to manage a rising personnel expenditure that was expected to increase to 12 per cent in 2018.
We gathered that he disclosed that overhead cost would also rise by N26bn in 2018 or 12 per cent increase.
Buhari spoke when he presented the estimates of the 2018 budget to a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives in Abuja.
The President laid a budget size of N8.612tn before the legislature for 2018, an increase of N1.7tn from the N7.44tn appropriated in 2017.
Buhari, who wore sky-blue Hausa native attire and a matching cap, addressed lawmakers for 1hour and13minutes amid applause and intermittent murmurs by senators and members of the House.
The President said he had released up to N450bn out of the N2.2tn budgeted for 2017 capital projects as of the end of October.
He promised to raise the implementation of 2017 budget to “about 50 per cent” by the end of December, blaming the delayed in the release of funds partly on the “late passage of the 2017 budget.”
He said to check a bloating personnel cost, he had directed all MDAs to halt fresh recruitment, else they would face sanctions.
He said: “I have directed agencies not to embark on any fresh recruitment unless they have obtained all the requisite approvals. Any breach of this directive will be severely sanctioned.”
From the proposed N8.612tn for 2018, the President said recurrent costs would be N3.494tn, while N2.652tn was earmarked for capital expenditure.
He added that debt servicing would cost N2.014tn; and statutory transfers, N456bn.
The amount earmarked as Sinking Fund “to retire maturing bond to local contractors” was N220bn.
On statutory transfers, Buhari said, “N456.46bn is provided in the 2018 budget for statutory transfers. The five per cent increase over last year’s provision is mainly due to increases in transfer to Niger Delta Development Commission and the Universal Basic Education Commission, which are related directly to the size of oil revenue.”
The budget came with a deficit of N2.005tn, a drop from the N2.36tn contained in the 2017 budget, or “1.77 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.”
On how to fund the deficit, the President stated, “We plan to finance the deficit partly by new borrowings estimated at N1.699tn.
“Fifty per cent of this borrowing will be sourced externally, while the balance will be sourced domestically. The balance of the deficit of N306bn is to be financed from proceeds of privatisation of some non-oil assets by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.”
Other key assumptions of the budget are a crude oil benchmark of US$45 per barrel ($44 in 2017); and oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day, including condensates (2.2mbpd in 2017).
The exchange rate of N305/US$ was planned for 2018, the same rate for 2017 budget.
The President also spoke on how his administration would tackle the country’s debt challenge, saying, “We are closely monitoring our debt service to revenue ratio. We shall address this ratio through our non-oil revenue-generation drive and restructuring of the existing debt portfolio.
“Presently, domestic debt accounts for about 79 per cent of the total debt. Our medium-term strategy is to reduce the proportion of our domestic debt to 60 per cent by the end of 2019 and increase external debt to 40 per cent.
“It is noteworthy that re-balancing our debt portfolio will enhance private sector access to domestic credit. In addition, annual debt service costs will reduce as external debts are serviced at lower rates and repaid over a longer period than domestic debt.”
Meanwhile, it was previously reported that President Muhammadu Buhari met with a joint session of the National Assembly for the presentation of the 2018 budget, a constitutional requirement in Nigeria.