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REPS: 2015 Budget Probe- Reps Sends back Finance ministry, others for incomplete presentation

By James Sunday

LEGISREPORTS NG – The Nigerian House of Representatives has questioned the presentation of some government agencies on the implementation of the 2015 budget.

Nigerian Ministry of Finance and other agencies had appeared before an ad-hoc committee which is probing  the non-implementation of the capital project aspects of the 2015 budget.

At the hearing, the house of representatives was told that the federal government has borrowed a total of N882.122 billion to finance the N4.4 trillion 2015 budget.

The Ministry of Finance revealed that the sum comprises of N505.122 billion in domestic borrowings and N380 billion in external borrowings which have been disbursed to the country’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) Account.

Daniel-Nwaobia, who was represented by the director-general of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Aliyu Yahaya Gusau, however, noted that despite the on-going cash crunch, the ministry continued to come up with fiscal policies to move the economy forward.

She said that the policies include measures to diversify the economy, promote fiscal discipline, and improve non-oil revenue generation amongst other measures toward improving the well-being of Nigerians and added that the N380 billion appropriated for external borrowing had been funded through the domestic bond market. According to her, the borrowings followed the “drastic” decline in the country’s revenue gap due to fall in oil prices.

Speaking on the revenue performance, Daniel-Nwaobia noted that out of N3.45 trillion that was appropriated, only N1.74 trillion has been realised as at September. On the expenditure performance, Daniel-Nwaobia stated that out of the N1.83 trillion budgeted for personnel cost in the recurrent budget, N944.76 billion had so far been released as at the second quarter of 2015 and N1.24 trillion as at August 2015. For overhead, with a budget of N177.60 billion, N89.88 billion has been released as at May 2015. On statutory transfer of the N375.62 billion budgeted, N187.81 billion has been released as at the second quarter and N250.41billion as at August 2015. She added that N149.92 billion was released from the N231. 41 billion budgeted for pensions as at August 2015.

For debt service, out of the N953.62 billion budgeted, N782. 57 billion (82.1 per cent) has been paid as at the end of August 2015. She said that N14.713 billion, representing 70 per cent of the N21. 03 billion provisions for the implementation of the SURE-P, had been released.

The lawmakers apparently unsatisfied with the presentation by the ministry also questioned the sketchy nature of the presentation of the Ministry of Finance, directing the agency to return with harmonised figures next week.

The Ministry of Finance team was led by the Director General of the budget office, Aliyu Gusau, who also hinted the lawmakers on  the current status of the nation’s economy.

They are to return in one week,  with submissions that will address the concerns of the house.

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