As Nigerians awaits the deliberation and implementation of the 2019 Appropriation Bill into law by the National Assembly after the presentation by President Muhammad Buhari last month, Taxpal has X-rayed some of the highlights that may be of great importance to large, medium and small scale businesses in Nigeria.

Let’s do a brief summary; Nigeria’s total expenditure estimated for 2019 has been set at N8.83 trillion, which is lower than the set estimate of the 2018 budget put at N9.1 trillion. The budget deficit is projected to decrease to N1.86 trillion or 1.3 per cent of the GDP in 2019 from N1.95 trillion projected for 2018.

This in turn gives every major business a bigger picture on how to set out her goals for 2019 in order not to be found wanting by government policies.

Listed below are key highlights of the 2019 budget proposal:

1. The overall policy thrust of the 2019 Budget is to ensure economic diversification, inclusive growth and sustainable development.

2. At US$60 per barrel, the benchmark crude oil price increased from $51 per barrel in the approved 2018 Budget and actual average price for 2018 year to date of US$74 per barrel.

3. Daily crude oil production is budgeted at 2.3 mbpd including condensates. This is the same as that for the 2018 budget but higher than the actual average daily production year to date of circa 1.9 mbpd for 2018.

4. Exchange rate of NGN305/US$ is maintained for 2019.

5. Projected GDP growth rate is 3.01% with targeted inflation rate at 9.98%.

6. Budget deficit is expected to reduce marginally by 4.8% from N1.95 trillion in 2018 to N1.86 trillion in 2019.

7. The 2019 Budget contains provisions for fuel price subsidy, Niger-Delta Amnesty programme funding and minimum wage increase.

8. Government plans to set up a committee to advise her on possible ways to fund the increase in minimum wage without resulting to additional borrowing.

9. About N45 billion is budgeted for the recapitalization of the Bank of Agriculture and Industry to subsidize loans to SMEs to ensure single digit interest rates.

 To this end, businesses must ensure they build their financial strength, put into cognizance the benchmark of this year’s budget proposal in order to thrive within present economic conditions.

Also emphasis should be focused on the fact that the overall policy thrust of the 2019 budget is to ensure economic and inclusive growth coupled with diversification and sustainable development across all facets.