The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has stated that the Senate was wrong to accuse the Federal Government of abysmal funding releases for capital projects in the 2017 budget, arguing that the releases have been consistent and based on a budget roll-over implementation system.
Adeosun stated that just as the 2016 capital expenditure budget was rolled over into 2017, the 2017 provisions would also be rolled over into 2018. She said the government planned to roll over at least 60 per cent of 2017 capital projects to the 2018 fiscal year.
Adeosun made this known when she appeared before the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriation on Tuesday in Abuja, accompanied by the Minister for Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, to give explanation on releases so far made on the implementation of the 2017 budget.
She explained that the decision to roll over 2017 projects to 2018 was based on advice offered by the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Finance to the executive on how to improve budget implementation.
Adeosun said, “we had a rollover from the 2016 to the 2017 budget. There was no stoppage in terms of capital spent as projects simply continued.
“In the way in which we allocated the fund, the prioritisation was according to the objectives of the economy and growth plan.
“We were focused on project completion. So, we prioritised projects that were nearer to completion that were critical in the first releases of capital.
“We need more of your support. We have a number of resolutions that we need to complete international borrowings.”
In his own remarks, Udoma said that the Federal Government had been working to get the 2018 Budget to the Senate before the end of October.
“We intend to have discussions with you so that we can finalise that and take it to the Federal Executive Council so that we restore ourselves to the January to December fiscal year.
“This is to make it much easier to report on the performance of budgets”, the former senator said.
Udoma also dismissed the claim that government had not released much funds for capital projects since January.
“That is not the case. Between January and June, we still had 2016 Budget in operation and we allowed it to flow unhindered”, he noted.
Udoma added that in implementing the 2017 budget, it would be helpful if there was clarity from the National Assembly in terms of virement to aid implementation.
Earlier, Chairman of the joint committee, Sen Danjuma Goje, had reminded participants that the two ministers were at the National Assembly to brief the committees as well as Nigerians on the implementation of the 2017 budget.
“It is very important bearing in mind that the budget was passed by the National Assembly in May and signed into law by the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on June 6, 2017.
“We are now four months into the implementation of the budget. Nigerians need to know how far we have gone and what we are going to achieve.
“We have heard from the Minister of Budget and National Planning that they intend to submit the 2018 budget this month.
“By implication, if they bring it this month, they will expect the budget to be approved before the end of the year”, he said.
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