The Federal Government has so far released the sum of N253bn out of the N350bn set aside for capital projects in the first and second quarters of 2016.
Investigations by our correspondent in Abuja showed that the amount was disbursed in three tranches to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government for the execution of priority projects contained in this year’s budget.
A top official in the Ministry of Finance said the disbursement was made in three tranches of N107bn, N20bn and N126bn to the various MDAs.
Although a breakdown of the disbursement to each MDAs could not be immediately ascertained, investigations revealed that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing received a huge chunk of the funds.
Others sectors that received funds are aviation, agriculture, interior, defence and education .
The amount so far released was confirmed to our correspondent by the Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Festus Akanbi.
“The Finance ministry has so far released a total sum of N253bn for the execution of capital projects by various agencies of government,” Akanbi said.
The Finance minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had two weeks ago blamed the delay in releasing the funds on some bottlenecks associated with the public procurement process.
She said while the government had made provisions for the funds, the procurement process was affecting their speedy release.
The development had made the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to issue a circular directing all the MDAs to forward to it a list of ongoing and new projects in the order of priority.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, had while presenting highlights of the budget, explained that the government would be investing massively in infrastructure, adding that huge funds had been made available for over 40 road and bridge projects spread across the federation.
Some of them are N13bn for the dualisation of the Kano-Maiduguri road; N8.7bn for the reconstruction and pavement strengthening of the Benin-Sagamu Expressway; and N14.2bn for the construction of the Oju/Loko Oweto Bridge.
Others are N13bn for the concession of the second Niger Bridge; N6bn for the dualisation of the Ofukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states; and N8.8bn for the rehabilitation of the Sokoto-Twambuwal Kotangora road.
For the housing sector, the minister said a total of N35.6bn had been approved for the construction of 1,973 blocks of 7,069 units in the six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory.
In the agriculture sector, Udoma said that in pursuit of the government’s self-sufficiency and food security programme, several projects would be implemented.
They include the rehabilitation of rural roads at a cost of N1.3bn; giving support to 187,500 farmers at a cost of N1.3bn; and the development of strategic grazing reserves valued at N940m.