The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, has painted a gloomy picture on the 2016 controversial federal budget, telling the Senate that there is no guarantee for the implementation of constituency projects in the budget.
“We cannot guarantee the implementation of constituency projects in the 2016 budget. As a government, constituency projects are championed by members of the National Assembly. Like the legislature, members of the executive are politicians who canvassed for votes.
The SGF who appeared on Wednesday before a joint Senate committee on Appropriations, Finance and Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, made it clear that the Federal Government cannot fully implement the N6.06 trillion 2016 budget as passed by the National Assembly because the projected revenues of the government had dropped by 50 to 60 per cent.
Babachir Lawal who was invited by the Senate to explain his comment that the 2016 constituency projects as captured in the budget would not be implemented said: “The statement is correct. That is my statement, we cannot guarantee the implementation of constituency projects in the 2016 budget. As a government, constituency projects are championed by members of the National Assembly. Like the legislature, members of the executive are politicians who canvassed for votes.
“Lawmakers are aware that oil barrels had dwindled to about 800,000 per day. This has led to the inability of government to finance the budget. It is the duty of government to prepare the minds of Nigerians ahead that there will be challenges in implementing the budget.
“Government based its principle on zero budgeting this year. Funds will be released to finance key projects in line with the implementation plans of the government. I will explain why it will be hard for the government to implement the budget.
“I spoke with the Minister of Budget this morning and I asked him the revenue base of the government. We are now receiving about 50 to 60 earnings from what we projected.”
“Some Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) might find it impossible to implement projects appropriated in their budgets. We have to re-prioritize. I like us to understand that this is the background upon which I made that statement. “
He pointedly blamed the drop in Nigeria’s revenue on activities of militants in the Niger Delta even as he said that the oil benchmark of $38 per barrel fixed by the Federal Government has been drastically dislocated.
He added that the benchmark has been grossly affected by activities of militants in the Niger Delta. [myad]