Power, Defence, Transport Take Lion Share Of Capital Releases From 2016 Budget

The Ministry of Power has received the highest capital release of N209.246 billion (as of October 31, 2106) out of the total of N753.633 billion budgeted for 2016 capital projects for the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government.

Data exclusively obtained in Abuja showed that the Ministry of Defence came second in capital releases with N69.512billion, followed by Transport, N30,540,042,428; Agriculture, N29,578,929,050; Water Resources N25,201,857,951; Interior, N21,210,059,596; Health, N18,472,539,524; and Education, N16,743,672,981.

Others include Niger Delta, N8,161,196,486; Science and Technology, N6,681,349,721; Mines & Steel, N3,360,000,000; Petroleum, N2,413,847,044, and others, N312,511,048,789.
The federal government stated recently that it had so far spent N3.577 trillion out of N6.060 trillion budgeted for the 2016 fiscal year, which translates to 79 per cent performance of the prorated budget for the three quarters.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, said in addition to the total of N2,439.9trillion so far released for capital, non-debt recurrent and service-wide vote expenditure, a total of N1,137.7 trillion had also been paid out in domestic and foreign debt service expenditures.

This includes N44 billion transferred to the sinking fund to retire maturing obligations on bonds issued to contractors. The national planning ministry further stated that budgeted personnel cost and debt service obligations had been fully met on schedule till date.

“Additionally, the federal government has done reasonably well in the challenging circumstances with respect to capital expenditures. It is noteworthy that the total amount of N753.6billion already released for capital expenditure in 2016 is the highest in the nation’s recent history, even in the era of high oil prices,” the Ministry of Budget and National Planning had stated.

The minister added that the capital that had been released to date exceed the aggregate capital expenditure budget for 2015 of N700billion, inclusive of capital expenditure in statutory transfers.

At an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation in Abuja recently, Udoma said in spite of the shortfall in revenue expectations, the federal government was committed to its debt obligations and had also made efforts in funding the critical sectors to enable government function smoothly, while seeking lasting solutions to revenue shortfalls.

The minister explained that although the 2016 budget was well conceived, with reasonably conservative benchmarks, it recorded unanticipated revenue shortfalls along the line due to militants’ activities in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, a development which seriously affected the budgeted production levels for the fiscal year.

He further explained that government adopted a targeted approach with respect to capital expenditure to ensure that releases are consistently made to those sectors whose activities have the capacity of driving economic growth and fostering job creation.
He said particular attention was focused on infrastructure, agriculture and other areas with high job creation potentials, saying that all the releases had been cash-backed.

It was further gathered that the debt service, which has been implemented up 77 per cent as at September 16, 2016 covers domestic, external and transfer to sinking fund for maturing debts—-full year budget provision for debt service was N1,475.3trillion.

country’s  revenue  generation  mechanism.
He however, stated that the state government would support the auditing and generation of statistics  of the non oil revenue sector by RMAFC.
Leader of the commission’s delegation and Federal Commissioner, Sanya Omirin, said the team was in the state to conduct a wholistic auditing of the non-oil sector, verify mining companies with licenses, verify mining  leases and confirm  royalties that  accrue from mining.

He added that the commission  was working to bring all mining operators within the tax operations  of the government  for revenue generation .
He said the steps have become necessary  because  of  the  need to diversify  the nation’s economy .

Credit: thisdaylive

FG distributes 4,116 buses ‘to provide cheap road transport’

A total of 4,116 buses valued at N37 billion have been delivered to beneficiaries nationwide under the federal government’s Public Mass Transit Revolving Fund (PMTF) Scheme.

Adekunle Oyinloye, managing director of The Infrastructure Bank, said this in a paper he presented at a workshop for chief executive officers of mass transit companies in Abuja.

Oyinloye said the buses were released to mass transit companies to provide cheap and affordable road transport services to Nigerians across the six geo-political zones and the FCT.

According to him, the vehicles were provided under Phases I and II of the N25 billion PMT scheme being managed by the bank.

He said that the scheme had also empowered over 50,000 Nigerians, including bus drivers, bus assistants, auto-technicians and booking clerks, through direct employment.

“In addition, the scheme has thrived in reducing poverty and enhancing regional integration, as more people are able to move easily across different regions of the country, and across the West African sub-region,” he said.

“The PMTF Scheme offers a single digit interest rate regime of five per cent per annum in Phase 1 and zero per cent per annum in Phase II.

“This has resulted in cost savings of about N10 billion when compared with the prevailing interest rate of about 25 per cent per annum obtainable in other financial institutions.”

Oyinloye said PMTF beneficiaries were investing those cost savings in providing allied transport infrastructure like motor parks, service centres, ICT platforms, fleet maintenance, among others.

“On our part as the fund manager, we have continually managed the PMTF in line with international best practices,” he said.

“These are premised on a sound internal credit procedure and robust risk mitigating strategies that ensure beneficiaries fulfill their loan obligations, as and when due.

“This is the foundation upon which the successes so far achieved by the Fund were built.

“We are on standby to assist the federal government and any agency to successfully launch and sustain an intervention fund programme for transportation and other economic sectors.”

FG Needs $166bn To Address Transport, Energy Sector – Amaechi

The Federal Government would require 166 billion dollars in the next five years to meet the country’s energy and transport infrastructure needs, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said.

The minister made the disclosure at a public hearing in the House of Representatives on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act on Monday in Abuja.

The hearing also focused on a bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of three national transport commission.

Amaechi revealed that the Federal Government and General Electric had concluded arrangements for the commercialisation of the Lagos-Kano railway project.

He explained that the measure was intended to guarantee efficiency,  competitiveness and profitability in the sector.

While declaring the public hearing open, Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker, House of Representatives, expressed optimism that if the obsolete Act of the Nigeria Railway Corporation was repealed, Nigerians would enjoy cheaper means of transporting their goods.

He said Nigerians would also enjoy quality services and the incessant damage to roads by heavy duty trucks would be reduced.

The sponsor of the National Transport Commission Bill, Rep. Ncholas Ossai (Delta-PDP), said that the bill would curb revenue loss of about 30 per cent accrued to the federation.

According to him, the loss is due to non-integration in the transport sector.

 

(NAN)

FG To Reconnect Railway With Sea Ports – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi has said that the Federal Government will re-connect the country’s railway with the sea ports in a bid to boost economic activities.

 

Amaechi said this during a meeting he had with port professionals on Monday in Lagos.

 

The minister said President Muhamadu Buhari’s resolve to diversify the economy had brought to the front burner the need to implement the inter-modal means of transportation in the country.

 

“We expect that before June or July, we should begin the process or we should start the construction of the Lagos-Kano, and possibly the Lagos-Calabar railway.

 

“If those two contracts commence, then we expect that they would generate employment (and) economic activity would improve.

And we say that all of these must terminate at the sea ports, so anybody can import from any particular place in time.

You can import from Warri Sea Port; you can import from Port Harcourt sea port; you can import or export from Calabar sea port or any of the sea ports.

In terminating the railway, we are going to terminate one at Apapa and another one at Tin Can to encourage inter-modal means of transportation.’’

 

The minister gave the assurance that appropriate measures would be taken to ensure that the country received the right amount of revenue from the system.

 

“We also want to know how much is coming in and how much is being spent.’’

Nobody is expected to spend more than the budget has been approved for you so that we save money for the economy.’’

 

Amaechi, therefore, urged Nigerians to be patient with the Federal Government as its works assiduously to revive the economy, beginning with the implementation of the 2016 budget.

 

(NAN)

#INSIGHTWITHLARIGOLD: How Governmental Failures Add Up To Disasters By @Lanre_Olagunju

When government decides to remain hopelessly insensitive to its duties, it results into unpopular but severe implications like citizens trying to find individual solutions to public problems. Nigerians do not expect much from the political class anymore and it shows in the unending quest to personally provide basic things that should have been provided by the government. In several ways, this has telling adverse effect not just on the economy but the environment as well.

WATER

One of the most basic psychological needs of man is the need to quench thirst, without the availability of a basic need like water, striving to live becomes difficult. When you consider that in the 21st century, people still struggle for a necessity such as water, and that people actually still drink from the same river they defecate, wash and bath, it becomes absolutely impossible to consider if such people can ever strive for self-actualization.

Sadly, in a country of over 150 million people like Nigeria, only a meager 30% have access to portable water. Is it that government is not aware of the absence of portable water which remains a major pre-requisite for improved health care and sanitation? Moreover easy access to portable water practically helps in combating water borne diseases like cholera.

In the fashion of looking out for alternative means to provide basic amenities, a large percentage of property owners in Nigeria depend on underground water i.e. borehole, which they dig privately, as any attempt to ignore it is to deny occupants access to portable water.

As an hydrologist, I know that uncontrolled drilling of boreholes poses long term environmental threat like man-made earthquake and other environmental damages. It’s quite vital to consider that in places like Lagos and Abuja, people build on less than half a plot. And each individual wants to have a borehole in his residence. This results into excessive pumping of groundwater. And when large quantity of water is pumped out of the ground at a rate higher than it’s recharged, the ground, over time becomes hollow. After a while, the ground will compress and this might lead to collapse of building on such land, leading to loss of lives and property.

Going by the occurrence in countries with similar issues, it has been proven that when groundwater in any community is extensively and excessively withdrawn, after a long period of time, it results into lowering of the land surface, which is called subsidence. It was discovered that the earth lowered by 4.7 meters in Japan which badly affected many structures. As a result of this, Water Law was established to reduce the withdrawal of groundwater. Uncontrolled groundwater extraction via boreholes was responsible for recording similar occurrence in Su-Xi-Chang in China and also in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1994. In terms of contamination, a couple of people in northern Nigeria have lost their lives to drinking borehole water contaminated with Zinc poisoning.

Fortunately, this is a sector that can be revived if government surrenders it over to knowledgeable private investors.

POWER

To avert being in the dark due to the constant lack of electricity, individuals purchase generators, as there is hardly a household without at least one I beta pass my neighbour generator– a small sized generator commonly used to power low power-demanding gadgets . To remain relevant in business, big industries and corporations use mega generators to run business activities. And when many couldn’t break even, they had to move production to neighbouring countries with better power supply. But that aside, we can’t neglect the fact that the fumes from this alternative now turned regular source of power is actually toxic. The toxic waste from generators are contaminating the environment and in the wider sense, it’s reducing life expectancy by increasing chances for diseases like cancer amongst other deadly ailments.

LEGAL SYSTEM

When the judiciary fails or slows down justice, as a nation we’ve mastered to take the laws into our hands by lynching alleged criminals, just like the incident of #Aluu4 that shook Nigeria in October 2012. A case where four innocent undergraduates where gruesomely lynched and burnt alive for a crime they actually never committed.

 TRANSPORT SYSTEM

Rather than ask for better roads with nice road networks or even demand that alternative means of transport like the modern train system be put in place, tired and frustrated citizens would rather buy Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) that can whether the bad roads with deep potholes wide enough to cook for an entire community. And you begin to wonder if increasing the number of SUVs on our bad roads would temper the economic gawkiness that lack of good transport system constitutes.

Without talking about security, one can actually go on and on.  And sometimes you can’t but be tempted to ask that won’t the country be better off without the government which is only famously known for corruption, mismanagement and failing successfully at disbursing its basic responsibilities.

Nations only thrive when the government and citizens do that which is required for economic progress and development.

I am @Lanre_Olagunju

#INSIGHTWITHLARIGOLD runs on www.omojuwa.com every Saturday.