Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga, says the N4.972 trillion budget will spur job creation in the country. Aganga spoke at a luncheon organised in his honour by the Nigerian Consulate in New York.
On Wednesday, the National Assembly passed a budget of N4.972trillion, based on benchmark of $75 per barrel on the price of crude oil and oil production of 2.3milion barrels a day.
The spending is made up of N2.467trillion recurrent expenditure, N1.563 trillion capital expenditure, N497 billion in statutory transfers and N445billion for debt servicing.
Aganga said: “President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that we are cutting down costs in the 2011 budget, but more importantly, it is a budget of job creation.
“We have N50 billion in the budget to kick-start a public work programme. In addition to that we are focusing on labour intensive projects in agriculture, IT-outsourcing, construction, housing and entertainment sectors.” Aganga said government was also looking at providing “safety nets” for the “inactive poor in the society, the unskilled and uneducated.”
He said the budget for this year was based on “performance-based budget principles,” adding that henceforth ministries, department and agencies would only get new funds for capital projects based on performance from previous allocation.
According to the minister, “With the current unemployment rate in the country at 21 per cent, the government also plans to invest in infrastructure projects, including power and railways that will help create employment in the country.
“A country that has so much of natural resources, generating a lot of money from oil, it is not right that we should have the level of poverty we have in the country. Even if it means investing five billion dollars a year to assist those who are poor, we have every right to do that. Every Nigerian should be able to benefit from what we have in the country. We should have an inclusive society and inclusive growth policies that will make the average Nigerian benefit from the economic growth we are having in the country,’’ he said.
Aganga later received Technoserve award for innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Technoserve is a Washington-based NGO that helps entrepreneurial men and women in poor areas of the developing world to build businesses.
Prior to his appointment as minister, Aganga served on the board of the organisation.