UPDATE 1-Nigeria struggles to balance finances ahead of 2017 budget approval


UPDATE 1-Nigeria struggles to balance finances ahead of 2017 budget approval
Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:26pm GMT

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* Lawmakers resolve to pass new budget by May

* Only 214 people in Nigeria pay tax over $65,000

* OPEC nation experiencing first recession in 25 years
(Adds capital spending circular)

ABUJA, March 30 (Reuters) – Nigeria's parliament resolved to
pass the 2017 budget more swiftly than last year and avoid a
repeated delay of the spending plan being signed into law, the
Senate said on Thursday, as the OPEC member struggled with its
balance sheet.

The budget must be agreed by lawmakers before it can be
signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, who is facing
rising criticism over his handling of Africa's largest economy.

Buhari presented his record 7.298 trillion naira ($23.2
billion) 2017 budget to lawmakers in December and returned to
Nigeria from Britain in March after nearly two months of
medical leave for an unspecified illness.

The latest budget aims to pull Nigeria out of its first
recession in 25 years, largely caused by low oil prices and
attacks on energy facilities in its Niger Delta oil hub.

Under pressure to find news sources of income, the
government needs to control endemic corruption and a loose tax
policy that allows many to gorge off Nigeria's oil production,
hide their wealth and avoid filling the public coffers.

The Nigerian government said on its official Twitter account
on Thursday that only 214 individuals in the entire country pay
20 million naira or more ($65,232) in tax annually.

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