*Spends N1.1tr on debt service
By Prince Okafor
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, yesterday, said that the Federal Government has spent N3.577 trillion as at September out of the N6.06 trillion budgeted for 2016.
He disclosed this in Lagos at the KPMG CFO Forum saying: “The Federal Government has spent about N3.577 trillion as at September 2016 out of the full year budget of N6.06 trillion for the 2016 fiscal year. This translates to a 79 percent performance of the prorated budget for the first three quarters.
“In addition to the total of N2.44 trillion so far released for capital expenditure, non-debt recurrent and service-wide vote expenditure, a total of N1.138 trillion has also been paid out in domestic and foreign debt service expenditures. This includes N44 billion transferred to the sinking fund to retire maturing obligations.”
On oil sector
He said: “After liberalisation of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol, in May this year, consumption dropped by about 30 percent, resulting in a savings of $4.5 million a day from the elimination of false subsidy claims.
“There is no doubt that we need the revenues from oil to get out of oil dependence. We are determined therefore to restore the health of the oil industry.
“With regard to oil production, we have intensified the use of dialogue to reduce the disruptions to oil production in the Niger- Delta,” he added.
He noted that the country has experienced a tough time this year, but expressed optimism for better economy realities come 2017.
“Generally, revenues are down and have impacted on our ability to fund the 2016 budget, particularly the capital expenditure component of the budget. Oil revenues are down and non-oil revenues are also down. Many of the goods and services produced locally are dependent on imported inputs. The collapse of the oil sector has therefore resulted in a contraction in the non-oil sector and, consequently, the revenues that government expected to receive from these sources,” he said.
He also said that, the lessons learnt from recent challenges is that it is important to build up fiscal buffers, undertake an aggressive investment driven model and diversify from reliance on oil and gas for foreign exchange earnings and government revenue.
He explained that: “We have made our immediate priority to stimulate and revitalise the economy, as we are constantly looking at ways to develop and build social safety nets to mitigate the effects of currency weakness and re-pricing of petroleum products.
“Also, we have taken the decision to avoid laying people off and are focusing instead on increasing non-oil revenues and ensuring greater transparency and efficiency in the use of available resources. The desire to stimulate demand by putting money in peoples’ hands motivated our three interventions to assist states and local governments to pay staff salaries and wages.”
However, on social investment programmes, he said about N500 billion was voted in the 2016 budget, adding that while full implementation will not be realistic in 2016, “we expect to be in a position to fully meet the objectives of the programme in 2017.”
Udoma noted that the Strategic Implementation Plan, SIP, set aside by the federal government was already yielding positive results, “as reforms in agriculture have started yielding fruit as there has been noticeable growth in that sector.
“This welcome growth will help us to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves of self-sufficiency in rice by 2018 and wheat by 2019, and to become a net exporter of a number of other agricultural products over the medium term.”