Adeosun: FG Has Released N1.248tn for Capital Spending from 2017 Budget

• Saves N68bn on personnel cost, recovers N7.8bn, $378m, £27,800 through whistle blowing

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The federal government wednesday in Abuja said it had released N1.248 trillion for the execution of capital projects from the 2017 budget with the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing getting the lion share of N301.89 billion.

Making this disclosure while briefing journalists at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the State House, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, listed three other ministries which received substantial releases as Defence (N151.24 billion), Agriculture (N119.9 billion) and Transport (N127.92 billion).

According to her, other ministries which she did not list received N547.6 billion, a total of which she said amounted to N1.248,310 trillion, assuring that at the end of the 2017 fiscal year, the government would have spent about N1.3 trillion on capital budget as it did last year.

“The final update I gave was the level of capital releases till date from 2017 and l gave details of the big four areas and then others. So, Power, Works and Housing got N301.89 billion, defence N151.2 billion, agriculture N119.9 bn, Transport N127.9 billion and other areas combined is N545.6 billion. So the total capital budget release for 2017 so far is N1.248,310 trillion.

“We haven’t closed yet. We are confident we will close the year roughly around where we closed last year. We will close around N1.3 trillion mark. So, our commitment to infrastructure spending remains very strong. That is what is going to drive growth of the economy. That is what is going to drive jobs,” she said.

Adeosun also disclosed that the federal government saved N68 billion on personnel cost in 2017 and thus bringing average savings on personnel cost since 2007 budget till date to N288 billion. She said the savings were funds that would have been unaccounted for and now available to fund capital projects.

The minister who said the savings were achieved despite increase in the number of personnel, including the employment of 10,000 by the Nigerian Police, added that a total of 511 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) had been captured under the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), with staff count of 607,843.

“As at 20th March, 2018 the number of MDAs on IPPIS Payroll is 469 with 316,158 staff count with gross salary of N43,979,383,997.78 and 42 police commands and formations paid on IPPIS platform in February, 2018 with staff count of 291,685 and gross salary of N22,276,669,257.21.

“Staff of paramilitary agencies (Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Prison Service and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps) enrolled to date is 100,822 for which a trial payroll of N11,456,278,859.00 have been sent for review and update for April, 2018 payroll,” Adeosun said.

She said the introduction of the IPPIS had resulted in the reduction of ghost workers syndrome, promoted the enforcement of compliance with due process on employment of staff in MDAs, and enhanced prompt and timely payment of salaries and remittances of third parties payments.

She also said the staff of universities are currently being captured under IPPIS adding that the military will also be captured under the strategy and in no time, all workers in all fields would have been captured.

Adeosun also said she gave an update to FEC on whistleblowing policy in Nigeria with a total of N7.8billion, $378 million and £27,800 recovered so far under the policy, saying it has been helpful in blocking avenues for leakages.
Disclosing that the team executing the policy was recently sent to the United Kingdom for training, the minister said she would soon submit a memorandum on the institutionalisation of the policy in Nigeria to FEC because it has come to stay.

“I gave an update on whistleblowing policy which was another memorandum approved by FEC – the number of tips we have had, the number of investigations we have dealt with, the types of monies that have been recovered through the whistleblower policy.

“I also reported that the whistleblower team has recently come back from a trip to the Uk. The United Kingdom government was giving us trainings on whistleblowing, how we should institutionalise it. The team spent some time with revenue office in UK. They spent some time in customs office and they took them through what they have been able to do.

“I will be bringing the memo to the council. One of the things it has achieved is prevention. When they get the tips, they use it to block avenues for leakage. We have had a significant number tips. So, we will be coming back to institutionalise whistleblowing as a structure. It has become central part of fighting corruption, giving us valuable information. Basically, whistleblowing is here to stay, giving us useful information,” she said.

The minister also said she gave an update on Debt Management Office (DMO) and Nigeria’s debt structure, explaining that the country’s debt has been restructured in a way that domestic borrowing has reduced from hitherto 84 per cent rate to 77 per cent while external borrowing increased from 16 per cent to 23 per cent.

“I gave an update on DMO and our debt structure. FEC approved a three-year debt strategy to reduce our reliance on short time borrowing particularly treasury bills, 91 days treasury bills, costing us 21 per cent and moving from domestic borrowing into external borrowing. When we came in, what were owing was 84 per cent domestic and 16 per cent external. We have moved to 77:23 as a result of Eurobonds that we have done and refinancing of maturing obligations.

“Our terms of maturity was 7.15. We have now extended it to 11.25. That gives a little bit of room to allow the investment we have made in capital projects to filter into our tax system and allows us to manage the debt. What that means is reducing our cost of funds and reducing our interest cost because the cost of borrowing is much more less and in a planned manner and our average borrowing has reduced from 18 per cent to about 14 per cent. We are confident that as interest rates begin to ease, we will reduce our cost of borrowing even further,” she stated.

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