2017 Budget Will Address Abandoned Projects – Udoma

Budget, Udo Udoma, Abandoned ProjectsThe Federal Government has promised a better national budget in 2017 to address the issue of abandoned projects across Nigeria.

The government also pledged to bring a rest to the crisis of confidence over the 2016 Budget, which has been fraught with allegation of padding right from the beginning.

The Minister of National Planning and Budget, Mr Udo Udoma, disclosed this on Wednesday at a two-day conference on capital projects, implementation and monitoring organised by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Budget Planning, Mrs Olasunbor Ayinde, hinted that the 2017 Budget would attain uniform cost price for all items presented by MDAs to fund the abandoned projects spread across the country.

President of the NIQS, Mercy Iyortyer, expressed worry over the more than 19,000 abandoned projects across Nigeria, including the Benue State Sheraton Hotel which has remained uncompleted after 33 years.

The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, blamed the spate of uncompleted projects on lack of ethical behaviour on the part of professionals.

The Senate Committee Chairman on Public Procurement, Senator Mohammed Abdulsalami, on his part explained the controversy of budget padding while he blamed the legislature and the executive for lack of restraint.

Buhari To Sign Loan Deal With China

MTEFPresident Muhammadu Buhari is expected to sign a loan deal with China during a visit to Beijing next week.

It is part of the Federal Government’s efforts to fund the 2016 budget deficit of more than two trillion Naira.

A Statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Mr Femi Adesina, said that Nigeria and China would sign some bilateral agreements to strengthen their relationship.

In the meantime, the Minister of National Planning and Budget, Senator Udo Udoma, has hinted that the government had commenced discussions with local banks and other international finance institutions such as the World Bank and the China Export-Import Bank on planned borrowings of 1.8 trillion Naira this year.

The Minister said the credit would be used for infrastructure development, noting that the major focus of the 2016 budget was to improve exports.