The Federal Government’s capital budget would be strictly deployed to fund infrastructural projects across the country, particularly the completion of ongoing projects, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has said.
Adeosun, who also projected 3.5 per cent economic growth for 2018, said government would retain the capital budget despite forthcoming elections in the country.
The minister made this known on Friday in Abuja while representing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at a lecture delivered to National Defence College, NDC, Course 26 participants.
Responding to an enquiry by a member of the NDC Course 26 on the use of the capital budget for the general elections, Mrs. Adeosun maintained that the current administration would not engage in the diversion of capital project funds for the forthcoming elections.
She said: “The administration remains committed to infrastructure spending at the high levels of the past two years and the completion of major ongoing projects.”
She further reiterated the commitment of the administration to its programme of transformation, and jobs and wealth creation across the country.
Earlier at the National Defence College, the finance minister had delivered the Vice President’s lecture to the Course 26 participants entitled, “Economic Dimensions of
National Security: The Nigerian Experience.”
In the speech, Vice President Osinbajo said improvement in economic security was vital to Nigeria’s economic growth, human security improvement, and realisation of national defence and security requirements.
He assured that the Federal Government would continue to play a key role in ensuring national cohesion by promoting social inclusion as a key state objective.
He said: “Economic development is a springboard for improved national security because it comes with growth which enables more resources for a growing population.
“National economic development means that a country can meet its national security needs without depending on outsiders for the provision of its defence and security needs. Depending on food and energy imports makes a nation vulnerable to external pressure,” said the vice president, who chairs the Economic Management Team, EMT, of the government.”
On the Social Investment Programme, Osinbajo revealed that about 200,000 N-Power jobs had been created under the programme while 250 million meals had been served under the
Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
He added that 300,000 micro loans had been issued under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme.
Osinbajo expressed optimism about Nigeria’s outlook for 2018, noting that the federal government expects the economy to grow by 3.5 per cent, which is 1.4 per cent more than the International Monetary Fund’s projection of 2.1 per cent for Nigeria.
“The inflation projection of 15.74 per cent by end of 2017 was achieved and there is good reason to believe that the EGRP target of 12.42 per cent by the end of 2018 can be achieved.
“With regard to foreign exchange reserves, the level of $40.3 billion achieved by end January is already quite close to the amount of $43.53 billion projected in the ERGP for the end of this year. Given the current state of the oil market, this is a target that can readily be achieved,” the vice president stated.