Nigeria approves $2.8 billion extra budget for security, bridge repairs

By Felix Onuah

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s cabinet has approved a supplementary budget of 2.176 trillion naira ($2.8 billion) to fund “urgent issues” including defence and security, budget minister Atiku Bagudu said on Monday.

Bagudu said the money was part of the 2023 spending plan.

“This supplementary budget is to fund urgent issues, including 605 billion naira for national defence and security,” Bagudu told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Abuja.

“This is to sustain the gains made in security and to accelerate and reserve funds that are needed by the security agencies. (A) sum of 300 billion naira was provided to repair bridges, including coal and midland bridges.”

President Bola Tinubu inherited anaemic economic growth, record debt when he assumed office in May, and has been under pressure to ease the economic pain in Nigeria to secure public support after he introduced reforms critics say worsened the hardships.

He scrapped a decades-old petrol subsidy that caused pump prices to triple and allowed the naira to depreciate by more than 50%, sending prices surging in Africa’s top oil producer and most populous nation.

Bagudu said the government would transfer 25,000 naira to 15 million households from October and December, in the wake of the World Bank’s $800 million loan secured in April to help cushion the effects of reforms on vulnerable households.

He added that funds from the extra budget would go towards agricultural inputs for farmers, road construction and maintenance across the country and to finance additional pay for federal workers from September to December.

Nigeria’s cabinet two weeks ago approved a spending plan of 26.01 trillion naira ($34 billion) for the 2024 budget.

($1 = 785.98 naira)

(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Alison Williams, Jonathan Oatis and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)