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FG releases N200bn for Q2 capital votes

By The Rainbow
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The Federal Government has released N200bn for the second quarter capital projects, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, confirmed in a statement on Thursday.

Okonjo-Iewala in a by her Special Adviser on Communications, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, said that the release brings the total capital release for both the first and second quarters to N600bn.

The government in 2013 budget provided for an aggregate expenditure of N4.987tn, representing an increase of 6.2 per cent over the N4.697tn appropriated for 2012.

A breakdown of the figure shows that N387.97bn is for statutory transfers; N591.76bn for debt servicing; and N2.38tn for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, out of which N1.717tn is for personnel cost, while overhead cost is to gulp N208.9bn.

Similarly, a total of N1.62tn was provided for capital expenditure in addition to the N273.5bn budgeted for the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme.

The gross federally collectible revenue is projected at N11.34tn, of which the total revenue available for the Federal Government's budget is N4.1tn.

According to the statement, the prompt release of funds will ensure progress in the execution of capital projects captured in the budget.

Of the N400bn released for the first quarter, Okonjo-Iweala said N335bn had been cash-backed, while 65 per cent of the cash-backed portion had been utilised by ministries, departments and agencies of government.

A total of N72.7bn had so far been paid to the Federal Ministry of Power to cover various items necessary for the implementation of the Power Roadmap, the minister said.

Giving further breakdown of the releases, she said the amount paid out to the power ministry included the sum of N45bn paid to workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria as part of the power privatisation programme and the sum of N5bn paid for the Multi Year Tariff Order.

'Other beneficiaries include the Power Ministry headquarters, Power Holding Company of Nigeria, National Rural Electrification Agency, National Electricity Regulatory Commission, National Power Training Institute, National Electricity Liability Management Limited/GTE and Bulk Trader,' the minister said.

A breakdown of the N72.7bn shows that N59.089bn was paid in the first quarter, while N13.733bn has so far been paid for the second quarter.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who signed the 2013 budget amidst reservation, had sent an amendment supplementary version to the National Assembly to address grey areas in the one earlier passed by lawmakers.

The grey areas include reduction in personnel cost; reallocation of capital expenditure by lawmakers and reallocation of the budget for the SURE-P.

The Finance minister had in a presentation on the 2013 budget said the government remained focused on critical economic and social sectors driven largely by private sector activities.

To achieve this, she had said N497bn was allocated to key infrastructure, including power, works, transport, aviation, gas pipelines; the Federal Capital Territory; human capital development i.e. education and health, N705bn; and agriculture/water resources, N175bn.

Okonjo-Iweala had said, 'We recognise that Nigeria's infrastructure deficit remains one of the binding constraints to growth in the economy. Therefore, our strategy is to prioritise infrastructure investments in the budget, and also to leverage additional external financing for infrastructure investments in the country.

'For example, the budget 2013 has some important infrastructure projects in the transportation sector, such as the second Niger Bridge.'