FG releases N1.2tr for 2019 capital projects

The Federal Government yesterday confirmed that it approved the release of N1.2tr in the 2019 budget for financing of capital projects across the country.

Briefing journalists after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed explained that the amount, which translates to 50 per cent performance of the entire funds for capital projects, was achieved last week.

Although records show that the 2019 budget has a total of N2tr for capital expenditure, she earlier announced that as at November this year, N650b was released, a bulk of which was deployed to roads projects.

Her words: “First, in terms of revenue performance, the revenue performance prorated to third quarter of 2019 is N4. 25tr 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 MDAs and 11 months overhead for some MDAs we classify as critical.

“This includes the security services, Federal Government Unity Colleges, NYSC and Prison rations. So, a few agencies that we classify as critical have received 11 months and we are working on the 12 month overhead release for this category of MDAs.”

Zainab also stated, “Now that the President has signed the 2020 budget, which is a major achievement, it is clear that the 2019 budget is also a six-month budget. So, we have achieved 50 per cent capital release or 50 per cent 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 the 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.”

On his part, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva said the government would sign the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly into law by June next year.

He said his ministry reported to FEC that it has achieved at least one of those mandate areas, which is the passage of the deep offshore amendment Act.

This came as members began the rolling out of their achievements in line with mandates for MDAs since appointment.

Also speaking, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said he briefed FEC that the ministry would bring in additional diesel engine locomotive for the Abuja-Kaduna for railway system.

He said, “Eight coaches and two locomotives will drive them. This is to reduce the pressure we have on the Abuja-Kaduna route.

“We also reported that next year we will open the gas sector and a lot will happen in the gas sector in Nigeria. Rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery will commence in January and hopefully 2020 will be a very busy year for the oil industry in Nigeria,” he added.

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