- N3.6trn so far released
By Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government disclosed yesterday that it had so far spent N3.577 trillion out of the full year’s budget of N6,060 trillion for the 2016 fiscal year which was signed in May.
This translates to a 79 per cent performance of the prorated budget for the three quarters up to September 30, 2016.
A statement released last night by Akpandem James, the Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said in addition to the total of N2,439.9 trillion so far released for capital, Non-debt Recurrent and Service-wide vote expenditure, a total of N1,137.7 trillion had also been paid out in domestic and foreign debt service expenditure.
This, he said, included N44 billion transferred to the Sinking Fund to retire maturing obligations on bonds issued to contractors.
“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 N700 billion, inclusive of capital expenditure in Statutory Transfers,” the statement said.
At an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation in Abuja on Thursday, Udoma, had said that in spite of the shortfall in revenue expectations, government was committed to its debt obligations and had also made efforts in funding the critical sectors to enable government function smoothly, while seeking lasting solutions to revenue shortfalls.
He 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, he said, seriously affected the budgeted production levels for the fiscal year.
He added that 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.
The minister pointed out that all the releases had been cash-backed.