By Joseph INOKOTONG
The Federal government has so far released N1 trillion capital vote from the 2016 budget to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) .
“This is the highest ever budgetary releases in Nigeria’s annual funding for capital projects,” Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has revealed.
“So far, N1 trillion has been released on capital and this is the highest so far in the history of this country. With the current stability in oil price and the return of normalcy in Niger Delta, I am sure we will do more this year (2017),” she said.
A statement signed by Salisu Na’inna Dambatta, Director (Information) said the Minister disclosed the figure in an interactive exchange with members of the House of Representatives Tactical Committee on Recession in her office in Abuja.
The amount was released for various projects including the commencement of the construction of a dual standard railway line that would link Lagos and Kano, rehabilitation of roads, expanding irrigation facilities to boost agriculture and the upgrading of aviation infrastructure throughout the country.
She said that the components of the releases include aggregate releases to the MDAs of N870, 055, 792, 283.00 billion as at the end of February 2017 and additional releases of N65, 393, 920, 000 billion. Others were Manual Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIEs) in February 2017 in the sum of N11, 179, 173, 711.42 billion and an additional Manual AIEs worth N45, 804, 709, 077.20 billion as at March 13, 2017.
Mrs. Adeosun noted that the overall capital releases totalling N992, 433, 595, 071.42 billion have made impact on the Nigerian economy, by creating jobs, stimulating economic activities in communities and upgrading infrastructure, thereby improving the wellbeing of Nigerians.
The Minister pointed out that contractors returning to project sites around the country have employed workers, contributed to economic growth and improved the wellbeing of Nigerians in line with the strategic objectives of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister emphasised: “We are determined to transform the economy and this is why we are focused on capital expenditure. If we have our rail, road and power, then we will be able to generate jobs and prosperity.”
It could be recalled that in the Federal Government’s drive to devote more resources to capital projects, especially the upgrading of the country’s infrastructure, the Federal Executive Council at its meeting on March 22, 2017, approved the reconstruction of 12 more major highways across the country at the contract sum of N80 billion.
By Joseph INOKOTONG