Finance ministry releases N4.33tr for three-year capital spending

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The Ministry of Finance released N4.33 trillion for three-year capital spending, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, disclosed. The  funds covered  spendings on 2016 to 2018 budgets.

In a statement, released yesterday at the end of tenure press conference in Abuja, Udoma said N1.2 trillion was released under the 2016 budget, N1.58 trillion under the 2017 budget and N1.55 trillion has been released under the 2018 budget, as at May 8, 2019.

The minister said the release of the funds was part of the important strategy government embarked on in order to exit recession was to seek to reflate the economy.

“This was why we increased the capital budget. We increased budgetary allocations to capital expenditure from 16.1 per cent in 2015 to 30.2 per cent in 2016, 31.7 per cent in 2017, 31.5 per cent in 2018 and 26 per cent in 2019 – with priority given to the key execution priorities of the ERGP. We were also able to increase our capital releases. The Ministry of Finance was able to release, for capital spending, the sum of N1.2 trillion under the 2016 Budget, the sum of N1.58 trillion under the 2017 Budget and, as at 8th May,2019, the sum of N1.55 trillion has been released under the 2018 Budget,” he said in the emailed statement.

According to Udoma,  the key mandates of the ministry include preparing the annual budgets as well as the medium-term expenditure frameworks. The Ministry is also tasked with rendering policy advice to the Federal Government on all aspects of national development, development of national plans (long, medium and short term), monitoring and evaluation of Government policies and programmes, surveillance on the economy, coordination and management of development cooperation, amongst other things.

He said the ministry adopted the zero-based approach for budget preparation, which required justification of every budget item for funds allocation.

However, it must be explained that even under a zero based approach there are still ceilings applied because of funding constraints. We introduced online budget preparation to ensure that the identity of any person inputting any budget item can be ascertained. This has improved the integrity of the budget. Most importantly, we were able to ensure that our executive budget proposals are aligned with the strategic policies of government as set out in the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, and other governmental programmes and plans.

He said the economy was badly affected by the sharp fall in crude oil prices which fell from over $110 in mid-2014  to below $30 by January 2016. The situation was worsened by the disruption of oil production activities in the Niger Delta.The collapse of oil revenues led to a contraction of the economy ultimately resulting in the economy falling into recession in the second quarter of 2016.

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