•Says N450bn released for 2017
By Lawrence Olaoye
The Presidency has said that it has met its October target to get the 2018 appropriation estimates ready for transmission to the National Assembly.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said “Council approved a draft 2018 budget proposals. So we will be liaison with the National Assembly to where on a date in which the president will formally submit the budget to them.”
The minister however refused to give details of the approved estimates insisting that such details would be made available by the President during his presentation at the joint session of the National Assembly.
He however pointed out that the major focus of the government was to return the budget cycle to January-December as a departure from the past where budgets are not passed until mid-year.
Asked how much the government had released for capital budget so far, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun said the total sum of N450 billion had been already released as at yesterday.
Adeosun also added “Council approved the memo for the establishment of road trust fund structure. The memo was presented with the input of the minister of power, works and housing. It is the PPP initiative that will allow the private sector to get involved in road construction in exchange for tax credit.
“What is unique about the scheme is that it is building on an existing scheme that avails tax credit but is one company per road and we have found that only two companies have been able to take advantage of it.
“The tax will be recovered over a three year period. We expect this to mobilize significant capital into road provision across the country.
The ministry of works will be approving the design and the cost of those roads. The BPP will also provide certificates of no objection to make sure that the cost are reasonable, ministry of works will supervise.
“What we expect is significant road delivery especially in areas for example industrial clusters affected by very bad roads. They can get together, do the road and recover their money through the tax credit system.
“We expect the impact on revenues to be neutral because we are tightening our tax code but we still put in a limit that no company can apply and use more than 50 per cent of the tax within a year for this scheme.
A company doesn’t have to be active in that area, so a bank, oil company, service company could get involved. We are really trying to widen the pool of funds for road construction.”
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told newsmen that the FEC approved the construction of 14 kilometer 330KVA transmission line to Transmission Company of Nigeria to get them ready, to evacuate Azua power plant in Edo State when it is ready in May 2018.
The contract is for the sum of N796.6 million for a period of seven months, just about when Azura Plant should be ready.