By Lawrence Olaoye
The federal government has released the sum of N1.2 trillion to fund the capital budget of the 2019 budget.
The government also disclosed that the rehabilitation of the Port-Harcourt Refinery will commence in January, 2020
Briefing newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said the budget performance represented about 50 percent of the total appropriation of N2 trillion in the 2019 budget.
The minister also disclosed that the government was able to achieve 81 percent of its revenue projection of N4.25 trillion of the 2019 fiscal year.
The minister said “The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning reported on its one hundred days performance to Federal Executive Council today. The Ministry of Finance has eleven major mandate areas.
“First of all, in terms of revenue performance, the revenue performance prorated to third quarter of 2019 is N4. 25 trillion and that represents a performance of 81 percent. That is to third quarter so its nine months prorated not full year.
“The GDP growth that we planned for 2019 was 3.5 percent and the third quarter GDP performance was reported as 2.28 percent.
“On expenditure, we have been able to release all that is required for personnel so personnel expenditure is on course, debt service is also on course.
“On overhead, we have been able to eight months overhead for general MDA’s and 11 months overhead for some MDA’s we classify as critical. This includes the security services, the Federal Government Unity Colleges as well as NYSC and Prison rations. So, a few agencies that we classify as critical have received 11 months and we are working on the 12th month overhead release for this category of MDA’s.
“So far as at last week, we have released up to N1. 2 trillion in capital expenditure and that is a 50 percent performance of the capital for the whole year 2019.
“Now that Mr. President has assented to the 2020 budget which is a major achievement for this government, it is clear that the 2019 budget is also a six-month budget. So we have achieved a fifty percent capital release or 50 percent performance of the 2019 budget.
We have also been able to pass through the National Assembly and the National Assembly has passed the Finance Bill of 2019. I believe that by today or tomorrow, the bill will be conveyed to Mr president for his assent.
We have started the process of the new long-term development plan, we prepared a road map, it is going to be subjected to various stakeholder reviews before we start the actual planning process.”
Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who also briefed told newsmen that the government will commence rehabilitation of Port-Harcourt Refinery by Januari 2020.
On achievements of his ministry in the first hundred days of his appointment, he said he had been able to get the deep offshore amendment Act by the National Assembly assuring that the Petroleum Industry Bill would be passed by June next year.
Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said his mandate was basically on railway even when there are others in maritime.
He disclosed that the President will commission eight new coaches and two new locomotives in January to carry passengers to and from Abuja to Kaduna.
The minister added that Itakpe-Warri railway will be ready for commissioning between January and April next year just as he added that the Lagos-Ibadan railway will commence trial today.