The Senate on Tuesday summoned the Ministers of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and her counterpart in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma to appear before it immediately for the purpose of explaining why the Capital component of the 2017 Budget has not been adequately funded.
The Senate made this call as the National Assembly resumed from its break pursuant to one of the prayers in the motion sponsored by the Senator representing Lagos East, Senator Gbenga Ashafa captioned “Inadequate releases in the 2017 budget and the need to expedite releases in order to stimulate the Economy”.
While moving the motion, Ashafa cautioned that inadequate releases from the Federal government to Ministries, Departments and Agencies to finance their capital projects might return the country to recession.
Ashafa in his motion observed that “while the total size of the 2017 budget tagged as the budget of Economic Recovery and Growth is in the sum of =N=7,441,175,486,758 (Seven Trillion, Four Hundred and Forty One Billion, One Hundred and Seventy Five Million, Four Hundred and Eighty Six Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty Eight Naira) , the capital component of the budget is in the sum of =N=2,177,866,775,867 (Two Trillion, One Hundred and Seventy-Seven Billion, Eight-Hundred and Sixty-Six Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Five Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Seven Naira) only, for the year ending on the 31st December, 2017, according to the Appropriation Act of 2017.”
He however expressed concern that since the 2017 budget was assented to by the President in June 2017, only about N310 Billion Naira has been released by the Federal Government to Ministries, Departments and Agencies as funding for capital projects. The figure according to the Distinguished Senator is too low to stimulate the economy.
As he concluded, Ashafa reiterated the fact that “the livelihood of millions of Nigerians is directly connected with the funding of the budget and execution of projects. Considering that the more projects are executed, the more Nigerians would be engaged at various levels of the employment value chain.” Hence the need for expedited funding of the capital component of the Budget.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu while seconding the motion commended Senator Gbenga Ashafa on the motion and urged his colleagues to support the motion.
The Senate accordingly resolved to invite the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning to appear before the Senate in plenary to brief the Senate on reasons for the inadequate releases, in accordance to the prayers of the said motion.