• Tony Igele

Senate grills Adeosun, Udoma over breach in budget implementation

FG announces inability to fund capital projects • 60 per cent of capital votes to be rolled over

The Federal government has announced that it can no longer fund the capital projects provided for in the 2017 budget. This came to light yesterday when the Senate joint committee on Finance and Appropriation subjected the ministers in charge of Finance as well as Budget and National Planning, Kemi Adeosun and Udoma Udo Udoma, to intense grilling over what it considered as very poor implementation of the budget.

The Senate described as unacceptable the release of less than 15 per cent of the N2.240 trillion voted for capital projects in the N7.44 trillion 2017 budget just as many Senators pointed out that such development would be very inimical to the fate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the next election.

Udoma linked the poor implementation of the budget to the delay by the Senate in approving the Federal Government’s plan to borrow some money to fund the 2017 budget.

Adeosun revealed that the Federal Government has so far released N340 billion to fund capital projects for which N2.240 trillion was budgeted.

“At the end of this week we would have released about N440.9 billion on capital budget for 2017,” she added. Adeosun also informed that cumulative releases on current expenditure is N1.5 trillion

The minister said that N128.8 billion has been released for statutory transfers, while funds released for pensions stood at N37.8 billion.

For overheads, N92.4 billion has been released while Service Wide votes has so far gulped N223.6 billion. The budget passed by the National Assembly and signed by the then acting president in June showed that Statutory Transfers got N434 billion, while N1.8 trillion is for Debt Servicing, N177.5 billion for Sinking Fund for Maturity Bonds and N2.99 trillion for Recurrent Non-Debt Expenditure.

The minister disclosed that 60 per cent of the budget for capital would be rolled over to the 2018 budget.

This disclosure attracted further criticisms by lawmakers who queried her on how practicable it would be to implement projects budgeted for in 2017 and the ones in 2018.

Asked to explain why many workers in some federal agencies were not being paid their salaries, Adeosun said it was due to the illegal recruitment in most of those agencies.

Director General in the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, informed the lawmakers that of the N2.05 trillion earmarked as revenue to fund 2017 budget, only N1.2 trillion has been realised so far.

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