The Federal Government is about to release N350 billion to Ministries, Department and Agencies ( MDAs) towards the execution of capital projects under the 2017 budget, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said on Monday.
The minister who spoke at an interactive session that preceded the official public presentation of 2017 Appropriation Act organized by the Budget Office and Ministry of Budget and National Planning in Abuja stated that after a scheduled cash-plan meeting, the Federal Government is to release the N350 billion and funds for other key projects and initiatives.
According to Senator Udoma targeted funding of projects would be done with the Project-Based Release System in order to curb waste of public funds by MDAs while evidence of compliance with the Bureau of Public Procurement Act is now part of compulsory requirements before approval of any capital release.
Also, all MDAs have been prohibited from unilateral endorsement of any foreign currency denominated contract without the approval of the Ministers of Finance and that of Budget and National Planning.
Udoma who said that the 2017 budget would run from this month to June next year also stated that the Federal Government would strengthen its monitoring and evaluation framework to improve physical inspection and impact assessment of projects and programmes implemented by MDAs .
However, consultations are being made between the executive and the National Assembly towards going back to the January to December implementation of budgets with effect from next year’s budget.
He explained that the 2017 budget will be financed “mainly by borrowings which have been projected at N2.32 trillion. Of this amount, N1.07 trillion (46% of this borrowing) is intended to be sourced externally, while N1.25 trillion will be sourced domestically. The debt service to revenue ratio is projected to be about 32.7% in financial year 2017” .
He added: “In terms of implementation of the budget, we are making strenuous efforts to find the resources required. We are challenging our revenue generating agencies, particularly the FIRS and Customs, to improve their efficiencies and broaden their reach so as to achieve the targets set for them in the 2017 budget”.
“Most importantly, we will strive to maximize the revenues we can generate from the oil and gas sector as it is clear that the foreign exchange generated from the sector is critical for our plans to diversify to the non- oil sectors. While we are introducing creative measures to improve on the efficiencies in that sector to increase Government’s take, we are also engaging more extensively with the communities and people of the Niger Delta to minimize disruptions to oil production”.
“We are also working on the ERGP Implementation Plan (ERGP-IP) which will guide the implementation of the 2017 budget as well as other budgets over the medium term. It is my expectation that as we remain strategic and bold in our implementation process we will achieve the objectives set out in the ERGP”, Udoma stated.
He also emphasized Federal Government’s concerns over the prevalence of abandoned Federal projects all over the country, adding that government hopes to tackle this through the strengthening of its monitoring and evaluation· framework· to improve· physical inspection· and impact· assessment· of projects and programmes implemented by MDAs .
“We are worried and concerned about the number· of abandoned capital· projects scattered in their thousands throughout the country, which we inherited from previous administrations.
“We know· that you can’t continue· doing things the same way· and expect· different result, so we have to do things differently.
“We need to have· more targeted releases; we have to look at the projects which are important and can easily be completed.
“The ministers are working together to ensure· that over time, we concentrate our resources on completing important projects, so that we have maximum impact”
The 2017 budget has an expenditure outlay of N7.44 trillion, representing an increase of 22.8% over the 2016 budget provision of N6.06 trillion.
Statutory transfers make up N434.41 billion , debt service of N1.66 trillion; sinking fund to retire certain maturing bonds is N177.46 billion.
Also, non-debt recurrent expenditure is to take N2.99 trillion while capital expenditure, inclusive of statutory transfers has N2.36 trillion.
The budget’s overall projected budget fiscal deficit is N2.36 trillion, which is about 2.18% of GDP – a point which the Minister described as being well within the 3% stipulated threshold.
The budget includes recurrent non-debt expenditure of N2.99 trillion made up of: Personnel costs – N1.88 trillion (63%) overhead – N219.84 billion (7%), services wide vote pensions – N89.98 billion (3%) Consolidated Revenue Fund Pensions – N191.63 billion (6%).
Officials at the public presentation of the 2017 Appropriation Act include the Minister of Interior Abdulrahaman Danbazzau, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Director General, Budget ,Mr.Ben Akabueze ; Minister of Foreign Affairs , Geoffrey Onyeama and the Minister of Health, Dr.Isaac Adewole.