2017 budget: FG, Senate disagree over capital vote

2017 budget: FG, Senate disagree over capital vote

The 2017 Budget of N7.44 trillion has Statutory Transfers provision of N434 billion, N1.8 trillion for Debt Servicing, N177.5 billion for Sinking Fund for Maturity Bonds and N2.99 trillion for Recurrent Non-Debt Expenditure.

"We have been working to get the 2018 budget to you (Senate) this month".

Adeosun, who was joined by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, told the senators during an interactive session that the government lacked adequate funding for the budget.

The Senate was seeking explanations on why the 2017 budget was poorly implemented.

The Senate on yesterday disagreed with the Federal Government over plans to release an insignificant fraction of the N2.177 trillion capital vote in the 2017 budget.

While appearing before the Senate joint Committee on Finance and Appropriation on Tuesday, Mr. Udoma said the irregularities in the start and end date of budgets in recent years makes it hard to report its performance.

According to her, N310 billion had earlier been released to fund capital projects under the 2017 budget.

Adeosun also informed the Senate that cumulative releases on current expenditure is N1.5tn.

She said: "The Sukuk funds are earmarked for roads and will be released on Thursday this week".

For overheads, N92.4 billion has been released while Service Wide votes has so far gulped N223.6 billion.

"It is very important bearing in mind that the budget was passed by the National Assembly in May and signed into law by the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on June 6, 2017".

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"We will keep the capital going to ensure that the projects are not disrupted from completion", Mrs Adeosun said.

Asked to explain why many workers in some federal agencies were not being paid their salaries, Adeosun said it was due to the illegal recruitment in most of those agencies.

She told the lawmakers that domestic borrowing would not be enough to fund the gaps in the budget, stressing that the cost of domestic borrowing was getting too high.

As lawmakers took their turn to condemn the poor implementation of the budget, Senator Barau Jibril of the APC, from Kano State, expressed worries that the situation would have unfavourable impact on the chances of the APC in the next election. We intend to initiate the discussion with you in coming weeks so that we can resort to the January to December fiscal calendar which will make it much easier to report the performance of the budget.

"By implication, if they bring it this month, they will expect the budget to be approved before the end of the year", he said.

"What you have released is not up to the total amount budgeted for a quarter of the budget".

He added that the N2.3tn deficit in the 2017 budget, mostly in the capital component, could only be funded by foreign borrowing. Our intention was to reflate the economy.

"There is a big problem".

The minister stated that there would be more releases before the end of this year, adding, "By the time we release N100bn this week, we would have spent N440.9bn on capital projects".

"Yes, for the transition, there will be issues, but we should bite the bullet and solve the problem once and for all", the minister stated.

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