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Buhari unveils $34bn budget to help battered economy

By Chris Ewokor |BBC News|

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled spending plans of 13 trillion naira ( $34bn; £29bn) for next year to help the economy recover after it was battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Buhari's budget still needs to approved by parliamentImage caption: President Buhari's budget still needs to approved by parliament
President Buhari’s budget still needs to be approved by parliament.Getty Images

The amount is more than the 2020 budget of 10.6 trillion naira but lower in dollar terms.

There was a significant contraction of the economy in the second quarter of 2020 and the country now faces possible recession.

Tabling a “Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience” in parliament, Mr Buhari said said the pandemic had wreaked havoc on the global economy, including Nigeria’s.

Nevertheless, he expected the country’s economy – the largest in Africa – to expand by 3% next year.

Nigeria is Africa’s top oil producer and depends heavily on crude sales for foreign exchange earnings, but low oil prices have seen the economy struggling.

This week, Nigerian lawmakers approved plans by Mr Buhari to borrow $11bn to fund the 2021 expenditure.

This is expected to push Nigeria’s total debt to $90bn.

Mr Buhari’s spending plans would be implemented only if they are approved by lawmakers.