The Nigerian government says modalities are being put in place to conclude the preparation of the 2017 budget in time and ensure its passage before the end of this year.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who announced this to newsmen, said the aim was to make sure the implementation of the budget began from January 2017.
The Minister explained that government intends to prevent a repeat of the delays faced in implementing the current budget.
“With the cooperation and assistance of the National assembly, our hope is that the 2017 budget will be approved before the end of this year, so that we can start the implementation January next year,” she said.
She however, added that the 2016 budget was being properly implemented.
“The budget implementation for this year is on course, the 2016 is fully performed year to date, in terms of personnel. We are not owing any salary at the Federal level, operational expenditure has been disbursed for eight months, the ninth month is just being processed, capital expenditure has been disbursed to the tune of nearly 50% because about N720 billion has been released from the Ministries, departments and Agencies (MDAs) N1.4 billion as at the end of September,” Mrs Ahmed explained.
Shedding more light on government’s plan to borrow about 30 billion dollars, she said the money would be used to fund the 2016 budget deficit.
“In respect of the borrowing plan that the President has sent to the National Assembly, it is a borrowing plan for 2016 and included therein is the amount required for both local and foreign borrowing to fund the 2016 budget deficit,” the Minister said.
On the Social Investment programmes of government, the Minister said 25 billion naira has so far been released and nine more states are ready to start implementing the programme, in addition to Osun and Kaduna, which are already implementing.
Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola on his part, said approval was given for the completion of work on the 215 megawatts power plant in Kaduna State, which started in 2009, as well as the construction of the Phase I of Gurara 40 megawatts evacuation Sub Station, also in Kaduna State.
He said the two projects would help generate employment and also boost electricity supply.
“The Council’s approvals today include that of the completion of the 215 megawatts Kaduna power plant to correct procurement and implementation defects and lack of budget support for the project which started in 2009 and should have been completed in 2012. We are now in a position that we can complete this project next year,” Fashola explained.
He said government was adopting various sources of power generation and supply, which include hydro, wind and solar among others, to complement the shortfalls of either of the sources.