Federal Government Allocates Billions for Consumer Credit, Student Loans, and Agriculture in 2024 Budget

The Federal Government of Nigeria has allocated significant funds in the 2024 appropriation act to bolster various sectors, including manufacturing, education, agriculture, and housing. During an engagement with the media in Abuja on Thursday, Senator Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, provided insights into the allocations and dismissed claims of budget padding.

A total of N100 billion has been earmarked for consumer credit to support the struggling manufacturing sector. Senator Bagudu emphasized the importance of this allocation in addressing challenges faced by manufacturers, such as production efficiency and market demand. Additionally, another N100 billion has been allocated to the Agricultural Development Fund, aimed at supporting farmers and enhancing agricultural productivity.

In a bid to support students, the government has allocated an additional N50 billion for student loans, facilitating access to higher education for aspiring learners across the nation. Furthermore, a N65 billion Mortgage Development Fund has been provided to de-risk the housing sector, enabling the industry to expand and offer low-interest loans to prospective homeowners.

Addressing concerns regarding the integrity of the budget, Senator Bagudu refuted claims of padding, asserting that the budget process followed due diligence and transparency. He clarified that adjustments made by the National Assembly, including changes in the exchange rate and revenue projections, were aimed at enhancing government revenue and addressing critical sectors’ needs.

The Minister highlighted various initiatives aimed at supporting economic transition and development. Notably, funds have been allocated to the Clean Energy Transition Fund, aimed at facilitating the adoption of cleaner energy sources, particularly in the transportation sector. Additionally, a Youth Development Fund has been established to empower young Nigerians and promote socio-economic growth.

Senator Bagudu’s remarks come amidst debates surrounding the alleged padding of the 2024 budget. The Senate clarified that the purported increase in the budget was statutory transfers to first-line charge agencies, emphasizing transparency and adherence to budgetary procedures.

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