*Settles N1,137.7trn debts
THE Federal government has so far spent N3.577 trillion out of the full year budget of N6.060 trillion for the 2016 fiscal year. This translates to a 79% performance of the pro-rated budget for the three quarters up to September 30, 2016.
In addition to the total of N2,439.9 trillion so far released for Capital, non-debt Recurrent and Service-wide Vote expenditures, a total of N1,137.7 trillion has also been paid out in domestic and foreign debt service expenditures. This includes N44bn transferred to the Sinking Fund to retire maturing obligations on bonds issued to contractors. This is contained in a statement released by the Budget and National Planning Ministry signed by the Media Adviser to the Minister, Mr. Akpandem James.
“To date, budgeted personnel cost and debt service obligations have been fully met on schedule. Additionally, government has done reasonably well in the challenging circumstances with respect to capital expenditures. “It is noteworthy that the total amount of N753.6bn already released for capital expenditure in 2016 is the highest in the nation’s recent history, even in the era of high oil prices.
Indeed, the capital releases to date exceed the aggregate capital expenditure budget for 2015 of N700bn, inclusive of capital expenditure in statutory transfers,” the statement said. It will be recalled that at an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister for Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, had said that in spite of the shortfall in revenue expectations, the government was committed to its debt obligations in addition to funding the critical sectors to enable government function smoothly, while seeking lasting solutions to revenue shortfalls.
Udoma had explained that although the 2016 Budget was well conceived, with reasonably conservative benchmarks, it recorded unanticipated revenue shortfalls along the line due to militants’ activities in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, a development which seriously affected the budgeted production levels for the fiscal year. The minister said that the government adopted a targeted approach with respect to capital expenditure to ensure that releases are consistently made to those sectors whose activities have the capacity of driving economic growth and fostering job creation. Particular attention was focused on infrastructure, agriculture and other areas with high job creation potentials. The Minister pointed out that all the releases have been cash-backed.