The federal government realised paltry N398 billion as internally generated revenue (IGR) from the total N1.506 trillion targeted in 2016 budget, thus implying a shortfall of N1.1 trillion, Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, disclosed yesterday in Abuja.
This disclosure was made when Akabueze along with some members of the federal government’s economic team appeared before the Joint National Assembly Committee on Appropriation.
Nwabueze who said of the total N1.587 trillion capital expenditure in 2016 budget, N870 billion, representing 55 per cent, had so far been released, added that all the budget sub-heads did well except the capital expenditure.
He attributed the poor capital release to the revenue shortfall, adding that projected oil revenue of only 20 per cent in 2016 budget also contributed to the development.
While giving a break down of the budget performance, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, said N1.3 trillion, representing 100 per cent of the budget for debt service had been released. He also said N1.482 trillion, representing 100 per cent of the personnel cost, had been released adding that N132.8 billion, implying 85 per cent of the overhead budget and N285.8 billion service wide vote had equally been released.
Disclosing that N1.182 trillion budget for domestic borrowing had been exhausted, Idris said N351 billion had equally been released as statutory transfer, explaining that the total receipts or approvals from Federal Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) were N4.058 trillion in 2016.
In her submission, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, told the committee that when the lifespan of 2016 budget will eventually terminate in May 2017, a minimum of N1 trillion would have been spent on capital expenditure.
According to her, having realised that there would be significant revenue challenges in 2016 fiscal year, the government opted to prioritise capital projects with concentration on infrastructure, agriculture, security, mining and education.
Against this background, she said major releases were made to Power, Works and Housing Ministry and other relevant MDAs.
But the committee was unhappy with the capital release as it lamented the initial non-availability of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, at the briefing, saying she had been withholding monies meant to be released to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).”Why warehousing monies meant to be released to MDAs to allow the economy grow?” the committee kicked.
The committee also queried the rationale behind the release of only 50 per cent of the budgets of MDAs, observing that most MDAs had only the releases of 50-56 per cent respectively while only few of them had a release of 70 per cent each.
The committee also queried government representatives for giving only gross figures of the IGR generated, saying doing so impeded its ability to know how the income was generated.
However, Adeosun who later arrived the venue of the briefing, told the senators that the huge sums of about N3 trillion perceived to have been “warehoused” in the treasury single account (TSA) do not entirely belong to the federal government.
According to her, such monies are jointly owned by the federal and state governments along with specialised agencies such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
She described it as the total collection of monies including monies from Federal Allocation Account Committee (FAAC). Adeosun also said the 55 per cent capital release was the highest so far in recent years.
Earlier, the committee had walked out an acting Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mohammed El-Yakub, from the meeting venue, saying he lacked the requisite qualification to appear before it as the representative of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The committee insisted that it would only take briefings from the apex bank’s helmsman.