By Ese Awhotu
The Federal Government has said it would release the sum of N750bn this week to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government for 2017 budget capital projects implementation.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this yesterday during a meeting with a delegation of France investors in Abuja.
The delegation comprised of 30 companies from France that have indicated their interest to invest in key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Adeosun explained that the government had initially 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 in the 2017 budget.
“Last year we released N1.3tn of capital and so far this year we have released N450bn and this week we will release another N750bn and this will take the release to N1.2tn by the end of the year.”
According to her, “What the government is doing is to provide enabling infrastructure that would bring potential into reality.
The minister told the delegation that, “what the government is doing is to provide enabling infrastructure that will bring potential into reality.
Speaking, the Head of the French delegation, Mr Philippe Labonne, said the investors had indicated interest in key sectors of the economy such as banking, infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and youth empowerment.
He disclosed that the decision of the companies to invest in Nigeria was taken following a directive by government of France for French companies to increase their investments in Nigeria Labonne hinted that most of the French companies would form strategic partnerships with their Nigerian counterparts, even as he described the Nigerian economic environment as encouraging.
His words; “we are here to assess the investment environment in Nigeria to enable us to take advantage of the opportunities.
“We have about 30 companies in this delegation in sectors such as infrastructure, services, agriculture and banking and the purpose of this meeting is to identify key sectors where we can invest.
“We are interested in many areas such as energy, agriculture, services, especially toward youths and we will identify other areas subsequently.”
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had; presented an annual budget of N7.298 trillion for the 2017 fiscal year.
He made the budget presentation at a joint session of the National Assembly has Power, Works and Housing receiving the lion share of N529 billion.
Christened budget of budget of recovery and growth, Buahri proposed that the implementation of the Budget will be based on the economic recovery and growth strategy.
He also said that with regard to expenditure, government has proposed a budget size of N7.298 trillion which is a nominal 20.4 per cent increase over 2016 estimates.
He said that 30.7 per cent of the expenditure will be capital in line with government’s determination to reflate and pull the economy out of recession as quickly as possible.
Recall also that the National Assembly had last Tuesday unanimously passed the 2018-2020 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) projections of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, just as it referred the N8.6 trillion 2018 budget proposal to the Senate and House of Representatives Appropriation Committees for further legislative action.
The Senate had also said it would pass the N8.612trillion 2018 budget into law on the December 19.