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FG explains challenges in 2014 budgets

Abuja – The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Wednesday named oil pipeline vandalism as one of the challenges in the achievements of revenue projections for 2014 budget.

Okonjo-Iweala, who said this during the Public Presentation of the 2015 Federal Budget in Abuja, said the resulting shorting in oil was also one of the key challenges.

According to her, “we faced a quantity shock in the sense that the oil produced averaged about 2.2 billion barrels per day in the first three quarters of 2014”.

She said the figure fell short of the 2.28 million barrel projected in the budget and the effect was compounded further by the more recent fall in price.

“The effect of these quantity shocks is further compounded by the more recent price shock with prices crashing from 114 dollars per barrel earlier in June to about 58 dollars per barrel now.

“ This is below this year’s bench mark price of 77.5 dollars per barrel and has resulted in a fall in this year’s budget target of N3.73 trillion.

“ As at the end of October, total revenues were about N2.72 trillion.

“ We will not know the extent of the shortfall until we close our books for this year but it is obvious that the trend is less,’’ Okonjo-Iweala noted.

She said that in spite of the challenges, the Federal Government had managed to keep the country running; recurrent expenditure had been kept up and the government was still running.

Okonjo-Iweala said that capital expenditure had suffered in 2014 but with the SURE-P resources, the Federal Government had been able to keep priority projects going.

“ In the third quarter we could not cash back a N100 billion of third quarter capital and we have not been able to release fourth quarter capital.

“ Nevertheless, we have managed to keep most of our priority projects going with the support of SURE-P resources.

“ Of the N1.12 trillion in the budget for capital, the sum of N610 billion has been released but we were only able to cash back 465 billion of this amount.

“ And about 84 per cent has been used by MDAs as at the end of October.”

The minister noted that the implementation of the SURE-P budget improved in 2014 and had helped to maintain the base on capital projects and social safety net programmes in Nigeria.

She said N268.37 billion for various infrastructure and social safety net programmes and 78 per cent of N208 billion had been used.

Okonjo-Iweala said the SURE-P programmes had continued to render programmes; saved 631,250 lives by giving priority to health interventions.

She said the job creation projects under SURE-P were also doing well with the Graduate Internship programme now hiring and deploying 13,335 graduates so far.

“ The community services, women and youth employment programmes is creating 120 jobs for youths with a minimum of 3,000 in each state and the FCT.

“Several infrastructure projects across the country such as Lagos-Kano road; Abuja-Lokaja way and the rehabilitation of some other roads were completed in advance through SURE-P resources,’’ she said.


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