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Was Nigeria’s 2021 budget N21trn as claimed by Peter Obi?

The governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi, claimed that Nigeria’s 2021 budget was N21trillion, with a deficit of N11trn.  Obi made…

The governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi, claimed that Nigeria’s 2021 budget was N21trillion, with a deficit of N11trn.

 Obi made the claim while appearing on a presidential town hall meeting tagged “The Candidates,” which is hosted by an ace journalist, Kadaria Ahmed.

Verdict: False

 Full text

Speaking about budget deficit and his administration’s plans to do things differently, Obi said, “The 2021 budget is about N21trn, with a deficit of about N11trn; all these are estimates. Approximately N6 trillion is for subsidy. By the time you remove subsidy, you have reduced this by half. I believe subsidy must go.”

He urged Nigerians to see that the forthcoming presidential election would be beyond promises by the various candidates.

“People should begin to ask questions and look at what each of the candidates has done in his/her public life before now,” he added.

Obi also said he and his running mate had at various times in the course of their public lives demonstrated capacity to create and manage wealth as private businessmen, and equally gave a good account of themselves in public offices, him as a two-term governor and his running mate as a federal lawmaker.

 Verification

Checks by Daily Trust on Sunday show that the budget for the 2021 fiscal year was N13.5trn and not N21trn as claimed by Mr Obi

Daily Trust on Sunday recalls that on December 31, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2021 budget and the finance bill into law at the Council Chambers of the State House in Abuja after the National Assembly passed the N13.5trn budget.

President Buhari had presented the proposed 2021 budget to the National Assembly on October 8.

The National Assembly, while approving the proposal on December 21, raised the estimate of N13.082 trn to N13.588trn.

The amount represented a hike of N505billion from the proposed figures presented by the Buhari administration.

The budget signing is to ensure a January to December financial calendar.

The budget, which was tagged Budget of “Economic Recovery and Resilience,” according to President Buhari, was  critical for the legacy of his administration in ensuring security, economic growth and implementing health and emergency measures to counter the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president also promised that the budget would address the challenges caused by the pandemic on the economy.

On revenue generation, President Buhari warned heads of revenue-generating agencies to remit early and threatened sanctions for defaulters.

 Components of the 2021 budget

The budget was predicated on an exchange rate benchmark of N379/$ and crude oil production of 1.86million barrels per day (including 400,000 barrels of condensate) at $40 per barrel.

With the increase of the total budget size, the capital expenditure is now N4.125trn.

The sum of N3.324trn was earmarked for debt service, and N5.641trn was voted for recurrent (non-debt expenditure).

The 2021 budget sought to address issues of security, economic growth, health and implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

Consequently, the entire figures and deficit for the 2021 budget were N13.58trn and N3.32trn respectively as against the N21trn and N5.6trn claimed by the Labour Party presidential candidate.

Conclusion: The 2021 budget was N13.58trn and not N21trn as claimed by Mr Obi. Also, the deficit was N3.32trn and not N5.6trn as he had said. 

This fact-check was produced in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).