The Buhari administration disbursed N336 billion in the first quarter of 2017 for capital projects, the Ministry of Finance said Tuesday.
A statement signed by the ministry’s spokesperson, Patricia Deworitshe, said only N14 billion remained from the total budget for capital projects for the first quarter, a balance that will be released upon “resolution of some formalities within the agencies concerned.”
A breakdown of the release showed that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, headed by Babtunde Fashola, received the largest allocation of N90 billion.
This was followed by defence and security which got N71 billion; while Ministry of Transport got N30 billion.
The Ministry of Agriculture received N30 billion and Water Resources N12 billion. Other sectors combined received a total sum of N103 billion, the ministry’s statement said.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun said the prioritisation of the release of available funds was made in accordance with the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
She said, in 2017, the federal government will continue to focus on capital expenditure spending on priority sectors to stimulate economic activities and job creation.
“Despite fiscal constraints, the Federal Government was able to fully cash-back the budgeted capital releases so far made, which is a reflection of the current administration’s commitment to economic development”, the Minister said.
The ministry’s statement comes on same day the Senate summoned the finance minister and her counterpart in the budget ministry, Udoma Udoma.
In a motion sponsored by Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East), the lawmakers bemoaned inadequate release of funds for the capital components of the budget.
The 2017 ‘Budget of Recovery and Growth’ has a total amount of N7.4 trillion (N7, 441, 175, 486, 758) with N2.2 trillion (2, 177, 866, 775, 864) for capital projects.
The senate observed that the about N310 billion so far released for capital projects by the federal government since the budget was assented to “is far too low to stimulate the economy to address our present economic challenges.”
Worried that the failure to release funds could plunge the country back to recession, the senate requested that the two ministers “appear before plenary immediately to brief the senate on the cause of the inadequate releases and steps being taken to expedite release of funds for capital components of the 2017 appropriation act.”
The Senate also directed its committee on Local and Foreign Debts to report to it information on pending loan requests from the executive to enable the legislature advise the executive properly.
The Nigerian Senate resumed legislative works on Tuesday after a two-month long recess.