The federal government has so far released more than 56 per cent of the approved expenditure for capital projects in the approved 2019 budget, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said.
The minister disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing the Executive Council of the Federation (FEC) in Abuja on the performance of the budget and her achievements in the last 100 days since her appointment to the office.
Mrs Ahmed, who later briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, said about N1.2 trillion (56.1 per cent) out of the total N2.14 trillion (excluding the capital component of statutory transfers) capital budget has been released to various ministries, departments and agencies.
“So far, as at last week, we have released up to N1.2 trillion in capital expenditure, which is a 50 per cent performance of the capital for the whole year 2019.
“It is clear that the 2019 budget is also a six-month budget. So we have achieved a ‘fifth per cent’ capital release for 50 per cent performance of the 2019 budget.
“We have also been able to release all that is required for personnel. So, personnel expenditure is on course, debt service is also on course,” she said.
The minister said she was assigned about 11 major mandate areas to cover, including the management of the revenue and expenditure provision of the federal government in the budget.
In terms of revenue, she said the performance after nine months of 2019 showed a total of about N4.25 trillion, representing a performance level of about 81 per cent.
Also, she said the gross domestic product (GDP) growth of the economy planned for the year was about 3.5 per cent, with the third quarter GDP performance reported at about 2.28 per cent.
GDP is the total value of all goods and services provided in the economy over a certain period, either quarterly or annually.
On overhead, the minister said the government has been able to release eight months’ overhead for general MDAs and 11 months’ overhead for some MDA’s classified as critical.
The affected MDAs considered critical include the security services, the Federal Government Unity Colleges as well as National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Nigeria Prisons Service.
She said the government was working on the 12-month overhead release for this category of MDAs.
On the 2020 budget, Mrs Ahmed described the president’s assent to the approved Appropriation Bill as a major achievement for the present administration.
The assented budget which returns the country to the January-December budget cycle is one of the earliest to be submitted by the executive and appropriated by the National Assembly for the president’s signature.
She also identified other major achievements of the administration to include the passage of 2019 Finance Bill through the National Assembly.
The minster gave a hint that the draft Finance Bill approved by the National Assembly may be conveyed to the president for his assent between Wednesday and Thursday this week.
On future plans, the minister said: “We have started the process of the new long-term development plan. We have prepared a road map, which is going to be subjected to various interest groups’ reviews before government starts the actual planning process.”