N650bn released for 2019 capital budget – FG

The federal government said Wednesday that it has released N650 billion for capital projects in the 2019 budget.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, said government had set a December target to release additional N250 billion to bring the total releases to N900 billion.

She said the figure had surpassed the N600 billion President Muhammadu Buhari directed to be released as at October.

The minister said government had issued a number of Sukuk Bonds targeted at generating more money to fund road projects.

She said not all roads were federal-government roads, stressing that majority of the bad roads belonged to various state governments.

Responding to remarks by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, that poor funding was the reason road projects were not executed at a faster pace, the minister said much as the government faced revenue challenges, works, housing, power and transportation had so far received the highest releases.

“Works is always on the priority list; housing is always funded, same is transportation and power, though we have revenue challenges.

“It gives me an opportunity to state that the Minister of Works and Housing has a proposed budget of N247 billion for the year 2020 and the greatest component of this budget is the fixing of Nigerian roads.

“It is true that we are not able to fund the budget 100% but whenever we release funds for capital projects, the Ministry of Power, the Ministry of Works and Housing is always the priority and also the Ministry of Transport. 

“Our fiscal space is tight, resources are limited because revenues are on the performing but at time we have resources, funds to release, the highest proportion goes to Power, Transport, World and Housing. And also we have introduced some measures that have seen private sector participants getting involved in road construction.

“One of these measures is the Road Infrastructure Task Credit Scheme that Mr President approved by Executive Order early this year so far we have 17 companies that are carrying out 19 roads across the six geo-political zones,” she said.

The minister also told journalists thatNigeria’s shares at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development had risen to $50.6 million.

She said the country accepted the offer since March this year, stressing that Nigeria’s rating before global finance institutions had improved.

Also speaking, Minister of State for Transportation, Ms Gbemisola Saraki said the council approved N1.7 billion for the construction of a jetty in Bonny Island. 

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