By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA – Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, disclosed in Abuja, yesterday, that the nation’s federally collected revenue was forecast at N9.692 trillion in the 2012 fiscal year.
Okonjo-Iweala who said this while presenting the Federal Government 2012 Budget details in Abuja, noted that oil revenue which remains the mainstay of the nation’s economy was expected to account for N6.636 trillion while non-oil revenue was expected to yield the balance of N3.055 trillion.
The Federal Government’s share of the federally collected revenue stands at N3.561 trillion which leaves about N1. 136 trillion deficit when compared with the N4. 697 trillion expenditure profile for the year. The deficit is 2.85 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said the budget had been conceptualized on four broad pillars: “stable macro-economic environment through strong and prudent fiscal policies by eradicating revenue leakages and improving spending efficiency and structural reforms like the on-going reforms in the ports, power and lately, the liberalization of the downstream oil sector in order to attract investors.
“Strengthening governance practices and institutions that engender an environment that promotes accountability and transparency in governance; and investment in priority sectors of the economy taken is the most veritable way of inclusive growth.”
Pension verification to continue The minister also said that the on-going pension verification exercise would continue and indeed be extended to other pension authorities.
She said: “Going forward, government intends to extend its extensive audit to other pension administration authorities and we expect to make significant savings upon the completion of the biometric verification of pensioners.
“This will in addition, make it possible to properly pay genuine pensioners and keep track of them in the system.”
Boko Haram won’t hinder projects in the North Responding to a concern from the audience on the dangers inherent in the implementation of projects in the budget especially in parts of the North where Boko Haram has made government operations difficult, Minister of State for Finance, Alhaji Yerima Ngama expressed optimism that projects would be carried out unhindered by the insurgents.
His words: “The Boko Haram people are also interested in development. We believe they won’t be against development projects. Government is on top of the security situation. A month ago, no one would have expected the PDP rally in Damaturu, but only last week, the rally held under a peaceful atmosphere”.
Power reform frustrating On the worsening power situation across nation, the Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, who was also at the presentation, said the situation was more frustrating to him than concerned Nigerians but that a change was near.
The minister had to sack three top executives of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, recently over what he said bordered on sabotage.
He assured that with the several on-going projects in the sector as well as privatization of the Distribution and Generation Companies, the industry would soon have a positive outlook.
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