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Sanusi To Face Representatives Tuesday As Aganga Explains Policy

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ABUJA, Dec 06, (THEWILL) - The Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi will Tuesday appear before the House of Representatives to answer questions relating to his latest outburst that the National Assembly consumes 25 percent of the total recurrent of the nation’s budget. The House had last Thursday rescinded its earlier resolution to admit Sanusi in plenary over the matter and instead mandated its committees on Banking and Currency, Finance, Appropriation, Ethics and Privileges, Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes to investigate and report back to it next Thursday. Sanusi, who had appeared before the Senate last wednesday was due to take his turn in the House when the lower chambers suddenly changed gear and decided that he face the joint committee. Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Honourable Eseme Eyiboh had explained that the invitation of the governor was not meant to bring anybody down but to shed light on aspects of budgets which are of concern to the House adding that ‘it is part of the oversight responsibility of the House.’ Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, Monday lamented that the impact of Nigeria’s impressive economic growth rate has been grossly undermined by the high unemployment rate amongst the populace.

Aganga who disclosed this at the public hearing on the justification for bilateral and sovereign loans by the Federal and State government, organized by the House of Representatives joint committees on Finance and Loan and Debt Management, said the Nigerian economy presently ranks amongst the top ten nations in the world in terms of growth.

He said, “Our economy is doing well and our level of growth is good. We are top ten in the world in terms of growth but our level of unemployment is high and the growth in our Domestic Gross Product (GDP) has not impacted on the lives of the ordinary Nigerians because of this high unemployment rate.”

He however assured that his ministry is working on the possibility of enthroning a regime that will increase job creation with a view to extending the nation’s economic growth beyond the precinct of its GDP.

The minister however expressed dismay that the over-bloated recurrent expenditure in the national budget has grossly affected appropriation for capital votes. The minister reassured that the ministry has set up a committee that is already working on pruning the recurrent expenditure.

According to him, the Federal Government had to resort to borrowing in order to augment its funding of capital projects which, according to him, are aimed at reducing the huge infrastructural deficit of the country.

“What we need to do is to restructure our budget. Our recurrent expenditure is too large. And therefore we don’t have enough invested in capital projects. That is one thing we needed to change and I have a committee working on that and we are changing that structure. We need to reduce the level of recurrent expenditure. In fact one item increased from N985 billion in 2009 to N1.5 trillion this year.” He further disclosed that measures are being taken to improve on the country’s quality of spending to ensure that the right value was achieved for the amount of money spent.

On the continued decrease of funds in the Crude Oil Account, Aganga revealed that $5billion of what was in the excess crude oil account had gone into National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), adding that Nigerians will start seeing the effects from next year.

He also explained that the desired changes, which the ministry is pursuing, necessitated the move to present a proposed bill on the establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) to the National Assembly. He noted that Nigeria is presently the only oil exporting country that does not have a SWF.