President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari presented the first budget since his election in March 2015 Reuters

Muhammadu Buhari has presented the 2016 Appropriation Bill announcing a rise in borrowing to restore the country's crippled economy. In the first budget presented since he took office in May, the Nigerian president said the country will increase domestic borrowing to N984bn (£3.3bn, $4.9bn) and foreign borrowing to N900bn totalling N1.84tn.

Nigeria is expected to face a N2.22tn deficit in 2016, according to the budget. The country is Africa's biggest oil producer and petroleum exports make up 90% of the country's total revenue.

However, the nation's lack of refineries – at present there are four and of these, only three resumed production in July after months of inactivity – mean the country has to export about 90% of its crude oil and import petroleum products, including fuel.

The government then sells fuel to Nigerians at subsidised prices and reimburses the difference to importers. The country is currently facing a fuel crisis, for which the previous administration led by Goodluck Jonathan has been blamed, amid the outrage of many.

Nigeria has been experiencing a fall in oil prices. A price per barrel is now around $36 to $38 compared to $50 at the beginning of 2015.

The country is expected to earn N820bn in oil-related revenue in 2016 and the economy is expected to grow by 4.4%, while Nigeria will produce 2.2 million barrels per day, according to forecasts.

Buhari said in a statement during the presentation of the bill at a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives: "I know the state of our economy is a source of concern for many. This has been further worsened by the unbridled corruption and security challenges we have faced in the last few years.

"By June 2014, oil prices averaged $112 per barrel. But as at today, the price is under $39 per barrel. This huge decline is having a painful effect on our economy. I stand before you today promising that we will secure our country, rebuild our economy, and make the Federal Republic of Nigeria stronger than it has ever been."

The president also said the government is committed to diversifying the economy, tackling youth unemployment and lifting millions of people out of poverty.

Among other things, Buhari explained the country will invest N202bn in transport, N369bn in education, N134.6bn in defence and N221bn in health.

"This budget represents a major step in delivering a new opportunity for Nigeria," the president added. "It demonstrates our confident optimism that despite the challenging times, we have the will, resourcefulness and commitment to deliver prosperity to our people."

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