FG To Close 2017 Budget With N1.5trn Excess Capital Spending

FG To Close 2017 Budget With N1.5trn Excess Capital Spending – Adeosun
File photo: Mrs Kemi Adeosun

 

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, says the Federal Government will be closing the 2017 budget with a capital spending in excess of N1.5 trillion.

Mrs Adeosun. who revealed this development on Sunday in a series of tweets on her Twitter handle, said the figure is higher than what the government achieved in the 2016 budget.

According to her, the Federal Government is looking forward to the passage of the 2018 budget by National Assembly.

The minister disclosed further that more than five million new taxpayers have been added to the nation’s tax base in the last two years.

She commended the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for going after tax defaulters, stressing the need for the nation to diversify its revenue base.

Adeosun also thanked the tax authorities at the state level for doing what she described as “a great deal of work” on expanding the tax base and enforcement of tax payment.

She was delighted that the debt management strategy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which focuses on bringing down borrowing costs, is working.

The minister said that while the government was borrowing at an average cost of about 18 per cent in 2017, the cost has now reduced to 13 per cent this year.

She noted that the government would not relent in its resolve to continue to work very hard on the debt service cost.

2017 Budget: FG To Release Fresh N750billion

FG Asks CBN To Extend BVN To Microfinance Banks

The Federal Government on Monday said the sum of N750billion would be released this week to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government for implementation of capital projects contained in the 2017 budget.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun said this on Monday during a meeting with a delegation of investors from France.

She said the government had previously released the sum of N450bn for capital projects, adding that with the additional N750bn, a total sum of N1.2tn would have been invested in infrastructure projects.

I Am Not Fighting With National Assembly – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has said that he is not fighting with the National Assembly but only had a mere misunderstanding with them.

Mr Fashola told State House correspondents on Tuesday that his disagreements with the lawmakers over the ministry’s budget should not be misconstrued as a personal fight but one geared towards finding best ways to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

The arguments began when the minister criticised the National Assembly for allegedly inserting projects outside the purview of his ministry in its budget and slashing allocation for key projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in the 2017 Appropriation Act.

“There is no problem between me, as an individual, and the National Assembly. And let me make that very clear, many of the Senators and honourable members are my personal friends. So, you don’t fight your friends,” he said.

Mr Fashola, however, admitted that there is a disagreement between him and the lawmakers.

According to him, the disagreement had to do with the Economic Recover Growth Plan launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He explained that although the leadership of the National Assembly expressed “enormous support” for the plan, there is a disagreement over how to implement it.

“Now, there is also a disagreement, which I don’t think should make us disagreeable, about the best way to implement that plan. And I think that is all that there is to it,” he said.

The minister added that while the posture or manner in which both parties had approached the issue may give an impression that they were fighting, that was not the case.

“It is, perhaps, possible that in the heat of the moment, while trying to canvass our different positions, we are misconstrued as fighting but I am not fighting anybody,” he said.

“I have a disagreement; it shouldn’t make us disagreeable. And the way I see it, even in homes, between husband and wife, there are disagreements about which school their children should go to, how much to pay for education, how much to spend on food. That doesn’t mean they reach out for the divorce courts.”

Stressing that the lawmakers also represent him as a citizen and his role is to engage them for the growth of the country, Mr Fashola said, “This is the issue really. So, even if I have been misunderstood, my intention is not to quarrel with anybody but to see a better Nigeria, which I am sure they also want to see.”

Budget: Fashola Criticises Goje, Says Issues Raised Shouldn’t be Trivialized

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has criticised the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, for his comments concerning complaints the minister made about the input of the National Assembly in his ministry’s budget.

Fashola and the lawmakers have traded accusations since late June when he accused the National Assembly of unilaterally slashing budgetary allocation for key projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge.

Although the National Assembly had issued a statement describing the minister’s complaints as an attempt to blackmail the legislature, its members have continued to react to the issue and other disagreements with the executive.

During the Senate’s plenary on Wednesday, one day after the House of Representatives summoned the minister to defend his comments, Goje described the lawmakers as patriotic Nigerians and urged Fashola to behave like a minister or resign if he felt overwhelmed by his responsibilities.

Senator Danjuma Goje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The minister, however, fired back on Thursday in a statement by his Special Adviser on Communications, Mr Hakeem Bello.

According to Fashola, Senator Goje’s reference to the patriotism of legislators should not be spoken but demonstrated with regard to his calls for a more developmental budgeting approach.

“In this context, it is left for Nigerians to then decide whether budgeting for constituency roads is more patriotic than budgeting to complete the Kano-Maiduguri Road that connects five states, the Lagos-Ibadan road that connects three states and helps to move food, imported goods and fuel across the country; or the 2nd Niger Bridge that connects the East and West geopolitical zones of at least 11 states together,” he said.

“I will also leave Nigerians to judge whether it is more patriotic to budget for the Mambilla Power Project that will contribute to more power across Nigeria or reduce the budget to build street lights in legislative constituencies.”

He added that he expected the lawmakers to respond to the issues he raised rather than accuse him of blackmailing the legislature.

“Let me reiterate that I see parliament as a house where very vigorous debates about development should take place and it is important for Goje to acquire the temperament of debate and disagreement,” he said.

On the Senator’s comments about his behaviour, he said, “I think first that the language is unparliamentary and therefore not deserving of a reply.”

Noting that Goje, a former governor of Gombe State, and some other lawmakers transited from the executive arm of government to the legislative arm, Fashola said, “It seems that it is such people who need a behavioural prescription about legislative function.”

He explained that his comments about the budget were as a result of his desire to function effectively.

“I need a better budget as a tool to do my work and that is why l am speaking out,” he said.

Fashola’s Comments On 2017 Budget ‘Calculated Mischief’ – Reps

reps-2015-budget-house of reps-tribunal

The House of Representatives has criticised the Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), for his comments on the input of the National Assembly on the 2017 budget.
Mr Fashola had on Thursday, during an interactive session with editors, decried what he said was the reduction of allocation for projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge by the National Assembly.

He also lamented the insertion of projects such as primary healthcare centres and boreholes in the budget after the budget defence.

“If after we have defended the budget and we had gone and the legislature unilaterally changed the budget, what is the purpose of deliberation?’’ he was quoted as saying.

Babatunde Fashola on Housing
Fashola

But the House of Representatives, in a statement by the Chairman of its Committee On Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, said minister’s comments were part of “the pattern adopted by elements in the executive arm of government to delegitimise the 2017 Appropriation Act”, which was signed into law by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

National Assembly Won’t Be A Rubber Stamp, Lawmakers Reply Osinbajo

Insisting that the Minister’s comments contained “fundamental inaccuracies”, the House of Reps said they were part of “the obvious attempt to blackmail the National Assembly, paint it as an irresponsible institution not concerned with the welfare of the people, and set the Executive and Legislature on an unnecessary collision course on matters of power rather than issues that benefit the Nigerian people”.

The House of Reps also explained the reasons behind its decisions with regard to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge.

The statement read in part, “To the specific issues raised, it is very misleading and calculated mischief to simply say that N5 billion was taken from the budget for 2nd Niger Bridge. The truth is that in the 2016 Budget, N12 billion was appropriated for the 2nd Niger Bridge and not a Kobo was spent by the Ministry. Not a Kobo. The money was returned. The Ministry could not provide the Committees of the National Assembly with evidence of an agreement on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) or a contract for the 2nd Niger Bridge.

“The National Assembly, in its wisdom decided to fund other projects from the South East leaving N7 billion for the 2nd Niger Bridge that may yet be UNSPENT. The projects include – N2.5 billion extra for Enugu/Onitsha Road, N1 billion more for 9th Mile/Nsukka/Makurdi Road; additional N500m for Oturkpa- Makurdi to take care of evacuation of agricultural produce up to Maiduguri; N1 billion more for Ikot Ekpene-Aba-Owerri Road etc. These are strategic Roads in the South-East and North Central parts of Nigeria that had inadequate allocations.

“The National Assembly had to intervene to fund some other critical roads that were totally neglected in the Executive Budget proposal. An example is the Abuja- Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Road that had Zero allocation from the President’s proposal and no contract even in spite of due process certification. N5 billion was provided in the 2016 Budget. It was not utilised.

“In 2017 Budget, the National Assembly again provided N3 billion for this very critical road that connects many states and where incidents of kidnapping are rife because of bad roads, as we believe that all parts of Nigeria deserve attention or would the Minister also claim that this road has no design?

“On the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, leadership meetings of both the Executive and Legislature were held where it was clarified that alternative funding exists for the Road through PPP arrangement and the concessionaires had enough money to fund the project. That informed the decision to move some funds to other areas of need and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing is fully aware of this but chose to ignore it. Why spend government money if there is a clear existing funding framework in place and so many ongoing road projects are unfunded?”

“On the Mambila Power Project, the Minister proposed a whopping N17 billion for only Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). N17 billion! The National Assembly felt that N17 billion for EIA was misplaced and patently unjustifiable! The Minister himself even wrote to the National Assembly to move some funds from this sub-heads to others!”

2017 Budget Will Aid Private Sector Development – Budget Minister

The Minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma has said that the 2017 budget will focus on businesses around the private sector.

He said that the budget will create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive in their business.

“We are focusing on the private sector, we want to create an enabling environment for the private sector”, he stated.

The Minister made this known on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

He said that the aim of the budget implementation is to get the country out of recession, which he said is by spending.

He explained that 30% of the budget is for capital, which from the allocation over 50% will be infrastructure, roads, railways, power amongst others.

“These are the things that will get contractors back to work and stimulate the economy, this is actually the target of the budget”.

Private Sector

The minister disclosed that through the Executive Order that was issued by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for businesses to be made easier, the private sector has shown a lot of direction, enthusiasm, optimism of support which the government is giving.

He revealed that the Presidential Committee on the aid of easing business has been set up with the Minister of Investment and Trade as part of it, to address the issues that may affect the process.

He added that some issues will be addressed by the government that affects the private sector, such as visas for smooth passage of travelling, port clearance easier and getting a 24 hour service.

“We are focused on getting the economy out of recession, we are focused on making the private sector working again and we are happy that we are achieving it.

The minister expressed optimism on the full implementation of the budget and called on all Nigerians to monitor the process to make it a success.

FG To Release N350bn For Capital Projects

The Federal Government plans to release a total of 350 billion Naira for capital projects across the country.

Speaking at the public presentation of the 2017 Appropriation Act in Abuja, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun said this will address the infrastructural needs in the country.

Mrs Adeosun also said other capital releases will follow afterwards to allow for the needed development.

Just few weeks ago, vice president, Yemi Osinbajo assented to the 2017 budget making it an act of the law.

Read Also: Udo-Udoma Presents 2017 Budget

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, on his part stressed the need to prioritise the nation’s security by providing more funds for the ministries of interior and defence.

“The security of the nation has to be the number one priority of government and so we have to make sure that interior as well as defence, as you can see N472b for interior and N330b for defence, (are considered),” he said.

Mr Udoma said government would focus on ongoing critical projects aimed at improving the level of industrialisation in the country.

“We are to focus on critical ongoing infrastructure projects such as roads, railway and power, to utilise the special economic zones and industrial parts, to support the development of manufacturing which had been very, very challenged over the years; and then contributing to food security and creating a platform for agro-business,” he added.

Why Signing Of 2017 Budget Was Delayed – Osinbajo

The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, said the delay in the signing of the 2017 Appropriation Bill was due to disagreements between the executive and the National Assembly.

He said this at the Presidential Villa after signing the budget, one month after it was passed by the National Assembly.

Professor Osinbajo, who said the process of preparing and passing the budget for 2017 was smoother than it was in 2016 with less wrangling between the executive and legislature, however, said changes made by the lawmakers proved contentious.

“The final presentation and the signing of the budget has been considerably delayed. This was largely due to disagreements we had about the changes introduced to our 2017 Budget proposals by the National Assembly,” he said.

“The Executive took the view that the changes fundamentally affected some of our priority programmes and would make implementation extremely difficult and in some cases impossible.”

He, however, said the disagreements were resolved and the leadership of the National Assembly promised to reinstate budgetary allocations for important executive projects.

These projects, according to him, include the railway standard gauge projects, the Mambilla Power Project, the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway etc. which they had reduced to fund some of the new projects they introduced.

He added that the budgetary allocations would be reinstated by way of an application for virement by the Executive.

“It is as a result of that understanding and the outcome of our detailed engagements that we feel able to sign the 2017 Appropriations Bill into law today,” he said.

Acting President Osinbajo also the executive and the leadership of the National Assembly agreed to ensure the passage of the budget earlier to ensure a predictable January to December fiscal year.

He said the move was important because it would align the government’s financial year with that of most private sector companies and strengthen the relationship between government and the private sector.

He added, “On the understanding that we will be submitting the 2018 Budget to the National Assembly by October 2017, the leadership of the National Assembly has committed to working towards the passage of the 2018 Budget into law before the end of 2017.”

The Acting President, who thanked the leadership and members of the National Assembly for their “collaborative spirit”, assured Nigerians that the budget “is designed to bring the Nigerian economy out of recession onto a path of sustainable and inclusive growth”.

Acting President Osinbajo Signs 2017 Budget

Osinbajo Congratulates French President-elect, MacronActing President Yemi Osinbajo has signed the 2017 Appropriation Bill into law, one month after it was passed by the National Assembly.

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, joined the Acting President at the Presidential Villa for the signing of the budget.

The National Assembly passed the budget of N7.44tn on May 11 after increasing it from the N7.29tn proposed by the executive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Osinbajo described the signing of the budget as “an important milestone” in the economic recovery and growth plan laid in April by President Buhari.

Earlier in the day, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu, said the President had given Professor Osinbajo his backing to sign the budget.

Mr Shehu said in a statement that the President had in a letter dated June 10 and addressed to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said it is in the interest of the nation’s economy for the Acting President to sign the budget.

According to him, the letter underscores the unity at the highest level of government.

Mr Shehu added that President Buhari said he was pleased with a resolution that the Executive would “submit next year’s budget proposals by October 2017 and the National Assembly will conclude the Appropriation process by December 2017, so that the country can return to a normal fiscal period from next year onwards”.

 

Buhari Writes Udoma, Backs Osinbajo To Sign Budget

President Muhammadu Buhari has said it is in the interest of Nigeria’s economy for Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to sign the 2017 budget, according to the Presidency.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said President Buhari stated his position in a letter to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma.

Shehu said the letter, dated June 10, 2017, followed the receipt of the full brief on the 2017 Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly, adding that it underscores “the unity at the highest level of government”.

He added that President Buhari said he was pleased by the resolution that the executive would “submit next year’s budget proposals by October 2017 and the National Assembly will conclude the Appropriation process by December 2017, so that the country can return to a normal fiscal period from next year onwards”.

Senate Condemns Groups Seeking Secession From Nigeria

Senate Approves Electronic Voting For ElectionsThe Senate has warned those calling for the break-up of Nigeria to thread with caution.

These were some of the words of the lawmakers at an event to mark the second anniversary of the 8th National Assembly.

Some lawmakers who spoke, vowed to defend the unity of the country through legislation.

Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki addressing the lawmakers, however, appreciated them for what he described as an “unflinching support” which they have shown him and the entire Senate.

Stating some key achievements of the Red Chamber, Dr Saraki said: “Over the last two years, we have built a legislature that is genuinely fraternal and conducive for parliamentary business.

“The 8th Senate broke the 12-year jinx on the PIB by passing the Petroleum Industrial Governance Bill.

“The 8th Senate recorded another first by becoming the first to unveil and pursue the self-development and economic reform agenda to aid ease of doing business in Nigeria,” he added.

No Rift Between Executive And Legislature – Saraki

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has assured Nigerians that there is no crack in the relationship between the executive and the legislature.

While fielding questions from journalists in his residence in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the Senate President noted that though the relationship may have been slightly frosty in the beginning, there was nothing unusual about it as many nations in the world experience the same thing.

He also confirmed that out of the 196 nominees of the President, sent to the Senate, 185 were confirmed, while only 11 were rejected.

Speaking on the 2017 budget, Dr Saraki expressed optimism that it will be signed by the executive very soon. He, therefore, asked Nigerians to be patient as every detail contained in the document is ultimately to their benefit.

Furthermore, he described the recent passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill by the Senate as a major achievement especially as the bill had been abandoned by previous legislatures.