The Federal Government says it has released N400 billion from the 2016 budget to implement capital projects and an additional N60 billion will be released in a few days time.
Addressing journalists on the state of the economy yesterday, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, disclosed that “over N400 billion has been released so far from the allocated funds for capital expenditure. We are holding another meeting today for N60 billion to be released in a couple of days. We have been pumping money into the economy since May when the budget was signed.”
Speaking on the recession that the country has slid into, the finance minister assured that the country will come out of it. However, to overcome recession, Adeosun insisted that “if we stick to what we are doing: fight corruption, redirect stolen funds to the economy, cut out wastage, duplication and leakages, continue with the payroll clean up of the N165 billion Federal Government wage bill every month, the economy will recover. According to her, “you will soon begin to see the sign posts of recovery”.
The finance minister lamented that debt overhang has slowed things down even though the Federal Government has generated about N200 billion so far in revenue. “In order to reflate the economy, as money comes in, we shoot it out” Adeosun said.
She also revealed that the Ministry of Finance has been mandated to manage looted exhibits recovered from past public office holders.
Some of the looted exhibits she said include “items of jewellery in value to buy a house.” The finance minister added that the Federal Government has started renegotiating Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects in order to bring in private money to help develop the much needed infrastructure which will help create jobs.
Adeosun lamented that there was “a lot of abuse on duty waivers and the interministerial committee is just finalizing its work on that area.”
The finance minister also spoke on why the Federal Government cannot unilaterally spend funds in the Treasury Single Account (TSA). According to her, overall TSA balance is in credit “but government cannot spend that money because not all the monies belong to the government, withdrawing from it can cause financial crisis.”
One of the benefits of the TSA she revealed is that “we don’t do short-term borrowing like overdraft. That which belongs to the Federal Government is paid into the consolidated account and spent from there. However, debt overhang has been slowing government down. We have reduced borrowing, but have also increased revenue, and blocked MDAs from exceeding spending limits.”