Proposed N8.8trn budget for 2019 too ambitious, says ex-CBN chief

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Ex-Deputy Governor of Operations and Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Tunde Lemo

A former Deputy Governor of Operations and Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Tunde Lemo, has described the proposed N8.83 trillion 2019 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari as too ambitious.

Lemo in an interview with Channels Television, reacting to the budget presentation, said President Muhammadu Buhari in the budget failed to consider factors like disruption during the election period and the issue of subsidy.

The CBN ex-boss said based on the budget presented, there might be a cash flow problem in the country in 2019.

“I think it is a bit too ambitious. Production (oil production) is estimated at 2.3 million barrels, this again for me is too ambitious. I’m not sure we will hit 2 million barrel a day this year. You have to estimate some disruption, especially around the election time. So, when you put all of that into consideration, I think the budget is a bit too ambitious.

“Again, you have to look at it against the backdrop of the major issues that we already have. The subsidy issue – government is spending N1.6 trillion on subsidy. We are spending 30% of our current revenue servicing debts. For me, this fairly shows that there may be significant cash flow problem next year,” he said.

President Buhari on Wednesday proposed N8.83 trillion budget for 2019 and presented this to a joint session of the National Assembly.

The budget was presented under a rowdy session with opposition lawmakers repeatedly booing the President as he listed his achievements.

The budget proposal was prepared based on the following assumptions: Oil price: $60 per barrel of oil production rate: 2.3 million barrels per day exchange rate: N305 to $1 Real GDP growth: 3.01 per cent inflation rate: 9.98 per cent.

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