• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Low capital releases responsible for poor budget implementation – Senate

Senate

The Senate has lamented the poor implementation of the 2018 budget and blamed the Executive arm of government for not releasing adequate funds that could enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies to execute capital projects.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Suleiman Adokwe, stated this on Thursday in Abuja while addressing journalists shortly after the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, defended his ministry’s 2019 budget before the panel.

Adokwe said, “Before the budget defence exercise, we have done a bit of oversight functions and we noticed that releases for capital projects were quite low. Most of the agencies that we visited received between 10 and 15 percent releases.

“Based on our interactions with the various agencies of government, we have discovered that capital releases are still very low. So far, the highest I have seen, the highest release is 67 percent.

“Releases to some agencies are hovering between 40 and 45 percent. So, the 2018 budget implementation, in our opinion is not very encouraging and capital releases are what really ginger the economy.

“This is because it is the expenditure arising from capital provisions that put money in the system and this has been very low. Only salaries have been paid up to 100 percent.

“Overhead releases have not been up to 60 per cent in many cases and even most agencies received just for six months for the 2018 financial year which is not good enough.

“If you look at the 2018 total budget of N9 trillion, it sounds like a big money until when you do a quick conversion in dollars that you will discover that it is actually about $25 billion.”

He said the money was small for a country like Nigeria with over 200 million people.

He noted that Nigerians are not feeling the impact of government because of the failure of the executive to adequately fund the budget.

The lawmaker advised the Executive to release all the funds that would be appropriated for the various federal ministries, departments and agencies of if it want Nigerians to feel the impact of government.

He said, “The revenue being generated yearly by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigerian Customs Service and other collection agencies are even higher than what we are talking about, so why are we experiencing poor releases?”

 

OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja