*Minister provides details of spending
By Christiana Ekpa
Senate yesterday summoned the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun to appear before it in plenary to brief the Senate on the cause of inadequate releases in the 2017 budget and the steps being taken to expedite release of funds for the capital components of the 2017 appropriation act
The Senate also urged the federal government to expeditiously release the capital component of the 2017 budget to deliver the dividends of the 2017 appropriation Act to Nigerians.
The summon followed a motion sponsored by Senator Ggenga Ashafa, ( Lagos East ) on “inadequate releases in the 2017 Budget and the need to expidite releases of funds in order to stimulate the economy”
The lawmaker representing who raised a concern that since the 2017 Budget was assented to by the president, about three hundred and ten Billion naira has been released by the federal government to ministries, department and agencies as funding for capital projects which according to him is far too low to stimulate the economy to address present economic challenges.
He also said that the livelihood of millions of Nigerians is directly tied to funding of the budget and execution of projects.
Contributing, senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) said the government must go back to the drawing board and take key decision
“If it is true that the foreign reserve has grown from $25 billion to $34 billion, why are we incapacitated in funding the 2017 budget? We must say the truth. We must go back to the drawing board and take key decisions.
“We must engage in massive production and we must engage in massive spending too. What we have done is not a genuine approach to addressing the problem of the economy and getting out of recession.”
Senator Biodun Olujumi (PDP Ekiti) said Nigeria is only technically out of recession but still languishing in economic quagmire.
“Nigeria is only technically out of recession but still languishing in economic quagmire,
She lamented that barely three months to the end of the year, the 2017 budget had not recorded 10% implementation, adding that, the major problem is that the economic managers were yet to develop a viable economic blue print.
The 2017 budget was passed by the national Assembly on the 11th of may 2017.
However, in a swift response to senate summons yesterday, Adeolu has provided details of the 2017 budget spending.
According to her, the Buhari government has so far disbursed N336 billion in the first quarter of 2017 for capital projects.
The minister made this known in a statement signed by the ministry’s spokesperson, Patricia Deworitshe, and made available to journalists yesterday in Abuja.
She said out of the total of N336 billion budgeted for capital projects, only N14 billion was left..
Adeolu gave a breakdown of the releases as follows; Ministry of Power, Works and Housing got N90 billion, defence and security N71 billion, Ministry of Transport N30 billion, ministry of agriculture N30 billion and Water Resources N12 billion.
The remainder of N103 billion went to other sectors.
She also said that, the finance ministry followed the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) in the release of funds.