*Supplementary budget to finance COVID -19 Vaccines
*Deficit budget to be funded through borrowings
*N1. 8 trn spent on capital in 2020
*Debt services N3. 3 trn
Emma Ujah – Abuja
Owners of dormant accounts and unclaimed dividends have nothing to lose as they would be paid their entitlements, from the Special Trust Fund to be set up by the federal government, once they are properly identified.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, made the clarification while fielding questions during the virtual presentation of the 2021 federal government budget, yesterday.
“The unclaimed dividend and dormant accounts will be pooled into a Special Trust Fund. At any time that a bank or the registrar confirms that this is the true owner of such funds, the government will release such funds,” the minister said in response to a question on whether the federal government wanted to use the controversial fund to finance its budget deficit.
On the implementation of the 2020 budget, Mrs. Ahmed disclosed that N1, 8 trillion has been spent on capital budget and that the implementation of the capital budget would continue until March 31, 2021.
She explained that the necessary approval to that effect had been received, indicating that both 2020 and 2021 budgets would run concurrently until the end of the first quarter of the year.
Debt Service gulps N3. 3 trn
The minister disclosed that debt service gulped N3. 27 trillion in 2020 and that the N4. 8 trillion to be borrowed this year would come from both the domestic capital market and the international sources.
She ruled out the possibility of seeking any funding by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but added that the government was working with the World bank on the $1. 5 billion Budget Support Facility, to be sourced from the institution.
On the 2021 Borring Plan, the Director-General (D-G) of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha, explained that the plan was to borrow 50 per cent of the figure from the domestic market and the other half from international sources.
She said, however, that the decision could be reviewed, depending on the situation in the international arena.
On the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccines, Mrs. Ahmed disclosed that the Minister of Health and his team were still working on the details of what it would cost the nation.
She disclosed that once the executive was sure of what it would cost to buy the vaccines, with the necessary logistics, a supplementary budget would be presented to the National Assembly, for the approval of the funds.