Minister of National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has said that N386 billion recovered looted funds would form part of resources to finance the 2016 budget deficit.
He disclosed this while announcing details of the N6.06 trillion budget, with the Calabar-Lagos and Lagos -Kano rail lines taking combined allocations of N120 billion from the N1.75 trillion total capital budget, with each of the rail lines gulping N60 billion.
The Calabar-Lagos rail project was one of the major controversies between the Presidency and the National Assembly which led to muscle flexing, as President Muhammadu Buihari insisted it must be included before he would give his assent to the 2016 Appropriation Bill.
The N6.06 trillion 2016 budget outlay represents an increase of about 35 per cent over 2015 budget provision of N5.067 trillion. Deficit The Federal Government revenue projection was put at N3.855 trillion, leaving a fiscal deficit of N2.2 trillion which translates to 2.14 per cent of GDP.
Senator Udoma explained that the deficit to be financed largely through borrowings was within the limit of three per cent of the GDP, as stipulated by the Fiscal Act. The deficit is to be financed mainly by borrowings, projected at about N1.8 trillion, which would be sourced from the domestic market through bonds on the one hand and foreign loans on the other.
He said: “The borrowing is to be raised roughly equally from domestic and foreign sources. We have decided to source from international sources so as not to rely exclusively on domestic borrowing, which may have the effect of crowding out the private sector.
“Furthermore, we are optimistic that we may be able to access some of the foreign loans on a concessionary basis. The Ministry of Finance is currently negotiating with multiple sources to secure the external financing.”
The administration plans to spend N 2.56 trillion on Non-Debt Recurrent, which would be basically personnel costs and overhead.
An analysis of the sectoral allocations indicated that the Ministry of Interior will receive the largest funding of N513.65 billion; followed by Power, Works and Housing with N456.93 billion and Defence, N443.07 billion Education was fourth on the list with N403.16 billion, followed by Health (N250.06 billion), Transportation (N202.34b), Agriculture and Rural Development (N75.80 billion), Youth and Sports (N75.79 billion), Water (N53.3 billion) and Solid Minerals kept the rear with N16.73 billion. Highlights of major projects The breakdown showed 40 of the priority projects of the administrations to be undertaken across the country to include: N40billion for Lagos-Ibadan Expressway (Section I); N14.2 billion for the construction of Oju/Loko Oweto bridge to link Loko and Oweto with approach roads and Oshegbudu-Oweto road; N13 billion for dualization of Kano-Maiduguri road (Sections I-V); and N8.7 billion for reconstruction and pavement strengthening of sections of Benin-Sagamu expressway.
Other majors road projects earmarked for the fiscal year include: N13 billion for concession of 2nd Niger bridge; N8.8 billion for rehabilitation of Sokoto-Tambuwal Kotangora-Makira road; N6 billion for dualisation of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States; and N6 billion for dualisation of Ibadan-Ilorin section.
Similarly, N5 billion was set aside for the rehabilitation of Apapa-Oshodi-Oworoshoki road; N4.8 billion for rehabilitation of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani road; N2.8 billion for completion of Gombe-Numan-Yola road Phase II; and N2.6 billion for dualization of Kano-Katsina road phase I; N5.5 billion for rehabilitation of Enugu-Onitsha Road; and N2 billion for dualization of Sapele-Agbor-Ewu Road (Section I).
In the power sector, N1.1 billion was budgeted for the generation of 700MW from Zungeru Hydro Power Project; N1.2 billion for construction of 2X60MVA connection of Gurara to national grid; and an allocation of N5.5 billion for construction of 215MW gas power plant, which location was not specified.
The minister equally announced a N235.7 million allocation for coal-to-power development projects in Enugu, Benue, Gombe and Kogi states; another N303.9 million for the completion of ongoing construction of ITC/TDN and installation of injection and distribution substations; N305.3 million for completion of small scale renewable energy; power plants development; N324.2 million for completion of rural electrification scheme in 23 communities in Ondo; and N250.7 million for completion of ongoing electrification project in Kano State.
Besides the huge allocations to the Calabar-Lagos and Lagos-Kano rail lines in that sector, the minister disclosed that N18.3 billion had been earmarked for the completion of Abuja (Idu)-Kaduna 186.5 kilometre single track rail line and another N18.5 billion for the completion of Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri 326kilometre rail track and structures .
Udoma revealed that N35.6 billion would be spent on the construction of 1,973 blocks of 7,068 housing units in six geo-political zones and FCT. On the implementation of the budget, the minister said his team had been working with their colleagues in the Federal Ministry of Finance and assured that releases would be announced shortly.
Social intervention projects
Speaking in a similar vein, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said of the total budget estimate, N500 billion was earmarked for social intervention projects in five key areas of job creation, school feeding, conditional cash transfer, enterprise programme and STEM education grant.
A breakdown of the amount showed that N191.5 billion was mapped out for job creation and this would be spent on hiring of 500,000 teachers proposed by Federal Government and creation of 100,000 artisans across the country.
She further explained that plans had been concluded to make the teachers’ recruitment a very competitive one. The sum of N93.1 billion was also earmarked for School Feeding Programme, with which about 5.5 million children would be fed for 200 school days.