By Emma Ujah
ABUJA—AT last, more than 30 self-accounting Federal Government agencies have bowed to pressure from the Senate to submit their budgets for approval.
The leadership of the federal legislature had threatened not to pass the 2011 budget unless those agencies’ budget were submitted for scrutiny and approval. Minister of Finance, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, said at a news conference, yesterday, that all the budgets which were to be added to the Federal Government Budget proposals as addendum have been submitted.
Aganga who said the Central Bank of Nigeria’s budget was submitted yesterday, noted that the relevant law “requires that as we present the budget to the National Assembly, we are required to submit that budget with the budgets and estimates of those agencies that normally are not part of the full budget.
That is a requirement, and what the legislators said was we should make sure that we submit these to the National Assembly. We have submitted most of them. The last one was just sent in yesterday.”
On the Chinese $ 900 million Export-Import loan, the minister said the agreement for the facility had been signed and that the Abuja_Kaduna rail project would be so viable that the investment would be recouped within a period of seven to eight years.
The minister said the loan which was secured on concessionary terms would attract 2.5 per cent to be paid within 20 years and a moratorium of seven years.
Aganga added that the agreement with the Chinese had been expanded to include the establishment of an Industrial Park in Idu, Abuja, as well as the training of Nigerians in the rail sector to be able to manage the rail industry.
He said: “This is cheap money that any country would like to access. It is not bad to take a loan, especially when it is cheap. What is important is the utilization of such a loan.”
He assured that President Goodluck Jonathan “does not like borrowing” and that the administration would ensure that the nation’s debts were effectively managed in the interest of the economy.
On budget implementation, the minister revealed that about 50 per cent of the 2010 Capital Vote has already been achieved.
He assured that with the coming on board of programme managers to assist in the implementation of big spending MDAs to ensure value for money, the record would be better in the coming year.