Buhari appeals for dialogue as he presents Nigeria's $28.3b budget

President Muhammadu Buhari during the presentation of Nigeria's 2018 budget before the joint session of the Senate and the National Assembly in Abuja on November 7, 2017. MOHAMMED MOMOH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the militants in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta to embrace dialogue to ensure peace and development.

"We must come together to address our grievances. Threat and violence is not the way out,’’ he said Tuesday.

The Nigerian leader expressed the sentiments when he presented $28.3 billion 2018 fiscal year, recording a 16 per cent increase over that of 2017.

He presented the budget before the joint session of the Senate and the National Assembly, which tasked him to make the budget a job oriented one.

The 2018 budget is predicated on oil benchmark of $45 per barrel, with estimated daily production of 2.3 million barrels, N305 per dollar exchange rate, and 2.3 million barrel per day crude oil production.

Its recurrent expenditure is $7.8 billion and capital $11.4 billion, with the remaining $10 billion to service internal and foreign debts and sundry.

The budget of "consolidation’’, he explained, would focus on economic recovery and growth and hold a future for the country.

The president said the size of the 2018 budget was a reflection of his administration’s determination to consolidate and sustain the nation’s economic growth.

President Buhari said the nation’s external reserve stood at $34 billion, as of September 2017.

He disclosed that a committee headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had been inaugurated to check smuggling of food items across the country’s borders.

The Chairman of the National Assembly, Sen Bukola Saraki, said it was commendable that the present administration was making efforts at tackling unemployment.

“Looking around today, we see that many of our undergraduates are apprehensive about their graduation day.

“Our National Youth Corps members are not looking forward to the end of the service year, for fear of being tagged ‘unemployed'," he said.

Sen Saraki said infrastructural development should be seen to be well distributed to create growth pools away from the major cities and drive the regeneration of the rural areas.

“The current rate of rural-to-urban migration is alarming and unsustainable. Congesting the cities and stretching resources to breaking point, while undermining the economic viability of some states.

“People must be able to see a future for themselves in every corner of this country, not just in the big cities," said Sen Saraki .

Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?

Read Story:Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?