Why N350b for contractors is not yet released, by Udoma
Minister dismisses plan to sack workers of Immigrations, others
The Federal Government has blamed slow bureaucracy for the non-release of the N350 billion promised for contractors.Therefore, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) yesterday directed the ministries departments and agencies (MDAs) to work towards quickening the process, so that they could start drawing from the money, which has been unaccessed.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who explained this during a briefing of State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, said the funds were still waiting to be drawn, revealing that the council had told the MDAs to accelerate work so they could access the funds, especially those meant for capital projects.
During the 2016 budget breakdown on May 13, Udoma confirmed that the N350 billion, approved by the FEC was going to be released the following week. This, he said would reflate the economy and create jobs for more Nigerians, especially artisans and those with handiwork.
According to Udoma, “The N350 billion is available, but there is a process and this is part of the reasons we briefed council that there is need to fast track the processes, so that most of those monies will be released. We expect this in the next week or so.”
Udoma said the present government has an economic blueprint: “We launched a strategic document, we set out 34 things we want to achieve this year, which are our economic objectives. We plan to diversify from a mono-product economy to agriculture, solid minerals, while at the same time reflating the critical sectors.”
“What has happened to Nigeria is not peculiar to us as a nation. Leading oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia and others are also diversifying their economies. Declining oil revenue is something that the present administration met on assumption of office.
It was caused by the fall in crude oil prices from over $100 to less than $30,” Udoma said.On reports of impending sack of workers in para-military organisations, the minister said it was not true, assuring that this was not the policy of the present government.
He explained that the government’s plea to the private sector not to retrench was in anticipation of the economy picking up.
“We said so at the beginning that we are not going to retrench, there is a natural wastage which has happened in past governments, there are people who retire, people who may be disciplined, but there is no policy in this government to retrench. So, I want to disabuse your mind that there is such a policy,” Udoma assured.
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