Buhari to engage 9th Assembly over funds re-allocations—Udoma
Says oil assets to be sold
By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief, Emmanuel Elebeke & Mayowa Bayegunhi
The Federal Government gave a breakdown of its 2019 budget in Abuja, yesterday, with Ministry of Power, Works and Housing allocated the highest capital vote of N394.91 billion out of an entire capital vote of N2.09 trillion to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.
It was followed by Ministries of Transportation and Defence with N159.13 billion and 107.22 billion respectively.
In that order, Water Resources received N92.18 billion; Industry, Trade and Investment, N63.11 billion; Education N58.69 billion; Health N57.09 billion; Interior N53.68 billion; Science & Technology N48.10 billion; while Niger Delta Affairs got N35.24 billion.
On Recurrent Expenditure, Ministry of Interior got the highest allocation of N564.22 billion; followed by Education with N463. 40 billion; Defence N430.83 billion; Health N315. 72 billion; Youths & Sports N 122.67 billion; while the Office of the National Security Adviser received N86.84 billion .
The other ministries captured under this category were: Petroleum Resources N67. 85 billion; Foreign Affairs N66.11 billion; Agriculture & Rural Development N57. 68 billion; Information and Culture N44.60 billion; while Science &Technology got N35.02 billion.
Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was allocated N101 .04 billion, made of up N 63.40 billion for recurrent expenditure and N37.64 billion for capital expenditure.
Buhari to meet 9th NASS over budget size, funds
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, who presented details of the budget to the media and civil society organisations, said the president would engage the leadership of the 9thAssembly over the increase in the budget size from N8.83 trillion proposed by the executive to the N8.92 trillion, which was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the president.
Udoma said: “Executive revenue assumptions were generally approved and adopted by NASS, except for unexplained increases totalling N31.5 billion on some non-oil revenue lines.
“NASS increased the budget size from N8.83 trillion to N8.92 trillion, translating to an increase of N90.33 billion
“This has resulted in an overall increase of N58.83 billion in deficit. Inexplicably, NASS reduced the proposed borrowing from N1.649 trillion to N1.605 trillion, thus creating an overall unfunded deficit of N102.83 billion. To fully fund the budget, the level of borrowing may therefore have to increase.
“Allocations for some executive projects based on critical appraisal and linked to the ERGP were reduced and a large number of new projects, mainly constituency type projects, were introduced.
“Mr. President intends to engage the leadership of the ninth National Assembly, as soon as it emerges, to effect any amendments necessary to ensure he delivers on his electoral promises.
Oil assets to be sold
The minister disclosed that some oil assets of the federation would be sold and the proceeds used for the provision of critical infrastructure projects.
He was, however, silent on which particular assets would be taken to the market for private sector acquisition.
He said: “We have, again, reflected projected proceeds from oil assets ownership restructuring as revenues for transparency and monitoring. Expected funds have been earmarked to fund critical capital projects as this was not achieved in 2018.”
The minister said budget deficit of N1.92 trillion would be financed mainly by borrowing of N1.605 trillion, split equally between domestic and foreign borrowing.
On the minimum wage, the minister said the Presidential Technical Advisory Committee, PTAC, which was set up to advise on ways to ensure that the new minimum wage, and attendant wage adjustments for those already over the minimum wage, can be funded without increasing the level of borrowing to implement these wage adjustments, in such a manner as to minimize their inflationary impact, has submitted its report.
Responding to a question on the poor implementation of Social Investment Programmes, the minister said: “A lot of time has been taken to structure the programme well and ensure that checks and balances are in place so that it gets to the real beneficiaries. It is important that government resources are prudently and carefully managed.”
Late submission of budget
On how to improve the budget circle, he said: “We need to engage the National Assembly at two levels, before and after. When the budget is passed around May or June, the implementation of that budget takes time because of procurement.
‘’If we want to realise the full budget circle in terms of implementation, we have to present it by September. But if you do not have the information with which you prepare a budget, you cannot present it. Budget is meant to be realistic, based on information.
“On our side, we are trying to make sure there is fiscal discipline. The president intends to ensure there is discipline so that every member on the executive side is saying the same thing. If there is any issue, I am not personally aware, you can be sure that there is going to be discipline on the executive side,” he said in response to how transparent the administration has been.
On job creation, the minister said: “It is a concern but we have been tackling it from a number of fronts. One is to gain more activities in the areas that create jobs, construction like rail projects, housing projects and the like. So, emphasis is going to be on construction. A lot of money is already being deployed to agriculture”