Federal Executive Council orders fast-tracking of budget processes

Timothy Choji, Abuja

The Federal Executive Council has directed Ministries Departments and Agencies in Nigeria to fast track the processes of their capital budgets, to help reflate the economy.

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma made the disclosure while briefing Journalists after Wednesday’s meeting of the Federal Executive Council.

The Minister informed State House Correspondents that the Federal Executive Council’s directive must be carried out immediately, to actualize government’s plan of stimulating the economy.

Commenting on the release of the N350 billion earmarked for stimulating the economy, he said the funds would be released in the next one week.

“As far as the N350 billion which was indicated, the money is available but there is a process and this is part of the reasons we briefed council and there is need to fast track those processes so that very soon most of those monies will be released. We expect in the ministry of works, they should have quite substantial release in the next week or so. It’s easier for us for existing projects but new projects are a bit more difficult because of the public procurement act, which stipulates that you have to advertise and you have to wait for six weeks and so on. Therefore, new projects will take a bit longer. But existing projects that have already gone through the public procurement process‎ will be faster and I believe that you will soon start seeing the impact of those releases,” the assured Nigerians.

Substantial Plans

PIC  3. FEC MEETING 6-06-2016Mr Udoma said the government has adequate plans in place that will be executed gradually to improve the lives of Nigerians. He pledged that by the third quarter of the year, more impact of the 2016 budget would be felt by citizens

“The budget was aimed to reflate the economy and that is why you have in the budget a plan to spend a large amount of money on infrastructure but as you know the budget was only recently passed. It takes time for the spending to be release n to hit the economy and to begin to see the impact. So we have a plan, we know the situation we are in right now and we have a plan to get out of the situation. It is just that at this particular point in time we expected this trajectory because the releases will only start kicking in so that by the third quarter we will start seeing the impact of what we are doing to reflate the economy,” he said.

Workers Retrenchment

Commenting on the call by government on commercial banks to stop the retrenchment of workers, the Minister said the exercise was uncalled for because by the time the economy picks up, the banks will require the same workers.

“In fact the policy of this government is that we are not going to retrench, there is a natural wastage which happens in government, there are people who retire, people who may be disciplined but there is no policy in this government to retrench. With regards to the plea to the private sector, is because we know that by the time the economy picks up, they will need those people again‎. We know the economy is going to pick up we are confident about that, that is because of our plan, the plan was conceived because we knew that this was the trajectory we will move into,” Udoma explained.

He said government was determined to improve Nigeria’s standing on the global scale of the ease of doing business.

The Federal Executive Council meeting was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is holding brief for President Muhammadu Buhari.