FG: 2017 Budget Proposal Almost Ready – Thisday

Uzoho Peter

The federal government has stated that of the N6.06 trillion that was budgeted for the 2016 fiscal year, it has spent about N3.577 trillion as at September, 2016.

This, it said translated to a 79 per cent performance recorded by the budget.

In a keynote speech at the KPMG CFO’s Forum in Lagos yesterday, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, also revealed that the 2017 Appropriation Bill was almost ready.

However, the minister who was expected to speak about the 2017 budget proposal declined making comment on that, saying it was because the document had not been submitted to the National Assembly.

“The good news is that it is almost ready,” he said.
“We are almost through with our consultations with the National Assembly on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, and the outlines of the 2017 Budget, and will soon be submitting it to the National Assembly for their consideration.

“Without giving anything away, I can assure you that the Budget will be targeted at stimulating private sector investment. The government believes that it is only by partnering with the private sector that we can propel the economy out of recession and onto the path of sustainable growth,” he added.

Commenting further on the 2016 budget, Udoma said 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 had also been paid out in domestic and foreign debt service expenditures, saying this included the N44 billion transferred to the Sinking Fund to retire maturing obligations.

Udoma, disclosed that to date, budget personnel cost and debt service obligations had been fully met, noting that, additionally, government has done reasonably well in the challenging circumstances with respect to capital expenditure.

“It is noteworthy that the total amount of N753.6bn already released for capital expenditure in 2016 is the highest in the nation’s recent history, even in the era of high oil prices.

“Indeed, the capital releases to date exceed the aggregate capital expenditure budget for 2015 of about N700billion, inclusive of capital expenditure in statutory transfers.

“Despite fiscal challenges, government is committed to meeting its debt obligations while funding critical sectors to enable government to function smoothly, as we continue to work out lasting solutions to the issues of revenue shortfalls”.

The minister also highlighted the Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) 2017 -2020, saying “all these reforms and initiatives, and many more, most of which will be reflected in the 2017 Budget, are being brought together in a single document to be called Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP).”

He added that the document would present a coherent summary of Nigeria’s short and medium term economic plans for the period 2017-2020, saying by putting government strategies,directions, policy priorities and intended initiatives in one place, other stakeholders were better able to take their own strategic economic decision.

He further disclosed that the NERGP would focus on five broad areas, namely: macroeconomic policy, economic diversification and growth drivers, competitiveness, social inclusion and jobs, and governance and other enablers, assuring that there would be a major emphasis on implementation and monitoring of the NERGP.