The Federal Government Wednesday said that a total of N1.2 trillion was released for capital projects in the 2019 budget which represents about fifty percent of the capital expenditure.
Also, the Federal Government said the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, will be passed in the National Assembly by June next year.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed stated this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ahmed said that the Federal Government has started the process of the new long term development plan and has prepared a road map that will be subjected to various stakeholder reviews before the actual planning process would start.
According to her, “The Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning reported on its one hundred days performance to Federal Executive Council today. The Ministry of Finance has eleven major mandate areas.
“First of in terms of revenue performance, the revenue performance prorated to the third quarter of 2019 is N4. 25 trillion and that represents a performance of 81 percent. That is to third-quarter so its nine months prorated not a full year.
“The GDP growth that we planned for 2019 was 3.5 percent and the third quarter GDP performance was reported as 2.28 percent.
“On expenditure, we have been able to release all that is required for personnel so personnel expenditure is on course, debt service is also on course.”
Speaking on overhead, she said, “We have been able to release eight months overhead for general MDA’s and 11 months overhead for some MDA’s we classify as critical.
“This includes the security services, the Federal Government Unity Colleges as well as NYSC and Prison rations. So a few agencies that we classify as critical have received 11 months and we are working on the 12-month overhead release for this category of MDA’s.
“So far as last week, we have released up to N1. 2 trillion in capital expenditure and that is a 50 percent performance of the capital for the whole year 2019.
“Now that Mr. President has assented to the 2020 budget which is a major achievement for this government, it is clear that the 2019 budget is also a six-month budget. So we have achieved fifty percent capital release or 50 percent performance of the 2019 budget.
“We have also been able to pass through the National Assembly and the National Assembly has passed the Finance Bill of 2019. I believe that by today or tomorrow, the bill will be conveyed to Mr. President for his assent.
“We have started the process of the new long term development plan, we prepared a road map, it is going to be subjected to various stakeholder reviews before we start the actual planning process.”
Also, Timiprey Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said the Ministry had nine mandate areas.
He said, “Today, we reported to council that we have achieved at least one of those mandate areas, which is the passage of the deep offshore amendment Act. We also reported that work is ongoing on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and that hopefully it will be passed into law by June next year.
“We also reported that next year we will open the gas sector and a lot will happen in the gas sector in Nigeria. Rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery will commence in January and hopefully, 2020 will be a very busy year for the oil industry in Nigeria.”
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said, “We confirmed to the President that we’ll be bringing in a DMU, which is diesel engine for Abuja-Kaduna. It will be eight coaches and two locomotives that will drive them. This is to reduce the pressure we have on the Abuja-Kaduna route.
“As I said before, we provided coaches for only 300 passengers because that’s what we the experts told when we did the research, but now we are carrying 3,700 passengers, we are increasing the number of coaches every day. We believe that the President will commission eight new coaches and two new locomotives this January to carry passengers from Abuja to Kaduna and Kaduna back to Abuja.
“We also reported that we’ll be ready to commission Itakpe to Warri between January and April, depending on when the President will be available it. I don’t know how many of you saw a twit I sent about Agbor at night. Everywhere is ready; accommodations, workshops, stations, yard, everything, very beautiful. I can remember someone in Britain asking if it was in Nigeria and I told him it’s in Agbor village.
“We also reported that we believe that Lagos to Ibadan should also be ready for commissioning before April if the President’s will permit it. We’ve commenced trial-run on Lagos to Ibadan. The last time before tomorrow, we ran from Iju to Ibadan, by tomorrow we’ll start running from Agege to Ibadan. By the time we return from the holidays, we’ll be running from Ebite-meta to Ibadan.
“We believe that we should have gotten to the seaport before April, this should reduce what you call the Apapa gridlock. We are finding a solution to the Apapa gridlock. We also expect the China Exim Bank to approve the loan for Ibadan to Kano in January, if they do we expect that work should commence on Ibadan to Kano railway route in January or February next year.
“We’ll also put one DMU of right coaches and two locomotives on the Ibadan-Lagos this January to convey passengers free of charge till April when the President will commission the project. In maritime, we reported that we have almost completed the purchase of equipment for maritime security, the one they call the deep blue sea. That will enhance the security of the waters and reduce all these kidnappings and other insecurity in the waters.”