FG To Release N100B Sukuk To Works This Week
…Admits that Illegal recruitment now more rampant N1.2 trillion realized so far to fund 2017 Budget,
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – The federal government will release the N100 billion realized from the Sukuk to the Federal Ministry of Works, this week. The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, along with her Budget and national Planning counterpart, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma to explain the implementation of the 2017 budget.
The Senators drilled them for about two hours. “The N100 billion raised from the Sukuk, a non- interest diaspora bind would be released to the Ministry of Work to enable it carry out some infrastructural development of the country. “We successfully raised a N100billion to be released this week. At the end of this week we would have released about N440.9billion on capital budget for 2017,”
Adeosun said. Adeosun disclosed that N310 billion had earlier been released to fund capital projects under the 2017 budget. She explained that the federal government had spent much more on capital projects between up till June, under the 2016 capital vote. She added that the administration would toll over at least 60 percent of 2017 capital projects to 2018, just as that of 2016 was similarly rolled over till May 2017. Adeosun hinged the decision to roll over 2017 budget to 2018 based on the advice of the Senate Committee to Executive.
The Ministers noted that it would be extremely difficult for the government to meet obligations in capital budget, pointing out that there was N2.3 trillion deficit in the 2017 capital budget. Adeosun noted that the 2017 budget deficit was projected mainly on external and domestic borrowing. She hinged further capital releases on how fast the government could push the borrowing process, adding that domestic borrowing would not be enough to fund the gaps in the budget.
Adeosun, stressed that the cost of domestic borrowing was getting too high. She said borrowing from foreign sources was far cheaper as foreign loans come with less interests and on longer tenures. The Finance Minister put cumulative releases on Recurrent Expenditure at N1.5trillion, Statutory Transfers N128.8billion ;Funds for Pensions, N37.8billion; Overheads, N92.4billion; Service Wide, 223.6billion; and Capital Expenditure, N340.9billion. She said, “Cumulative releases on current Expenditure; N1.5trillion; We are fully on courses interim of salaries releases. Statutory Transfers;N128.8billion ;Funds for Pensions N37.8billion; Overheads N92.4billion; Service Wide;223.6billion,Capital Expenditure; N340.9billion.
“There will be no stoppage in terms of capital releases and projects simply continues. The administration is focusing on completing prioritized projects that were critical to the administration. So we will keep the capital going to ensure that the projects are not disrupted from completion.” Adeosun disclosed that revenue realized at the end of June represented a total of 91 percent of the projected revenue for the first half of year. Speaking further, the senators who drew a parallel between Nigeria and Brazil in the handling of economic recession in the two countries, said that the Brazilian economy had suffered recession for eight consecutive quarters but came out of it with 2.46 inflation rate and 10 percent interest rate.
The Senator also challenged the two Ministers to explain why the Nigerian economy, which suffered recession for only five consecutive quarters would come out with 16.5 percent inflation rate and over 50 percent interest rate. In her response, Adeosun who noted that the difference was in the better infrastructure that obtainable in Brazilian.
According to her, the South American country enjoyed 24-hour electricity supply, just as she attributed the wide gap in the inflation rates between the two countries to the nature of the two economies, adding that Brazil operates a diversified economy, with emphasis on massive agricultural production. She blamed Nigeria’s slow growth on poor infrastructure and dependence on oil revenues as major source of foreign exchange earnings.
Earlier, the Senators frowned at the slow pace of the budget implementation and warned that if not corrected and improved upon, it would be very inimical to the fate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the next election. Worried by the huge gap in the capital budget and the actual amount to be released, the senators warned that the trend could cause serious injury to the economy and grave danger to governance.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje said that the two ministers were at the National Assembly to brief the committees as well as Nigerians on the implementation of the 2017 budget, adding, “It is very important bearing in mind that the budget was passed by the National Assembly in May and was signed into law by the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on 6th June 2017. “We are now four months into the implementation of the budget.
Nigerians need to know how far we have gone and what we are going to achieve, the successes. We have heard from the minister of budget and national planning that they intend to submit the 2018 budget this month. By implication, if they bring it this month, they will expect th budget to be approved before the end of the year.” Also speaking, Chairman Committee on Finance, Senator John Enoh said that the seriousness of the session was underscored by the fact the Senate first’s resolution on this matter was the two ministrs to appear at the plenary. the fact that the latter resolution is what has brought us here the wisdom is that a session like this will be more detailed. He said, ” we hope that we will be very detailed, frank informatiion that will be provided will help the joint committee in terms of what recommendation and what report is to be submitted to senate at plenary.” In his concluding remarks, Senator Goje said, “If the trend of poor releases continues like this, Nigerians will die off. It’s not good to raise people’s hopes and dash them.
“In implementing the January-December fiscal system, we should be careful not to sacrifice half of the 2017 budget”.