Capital budget utilisation enters historic fall

With Nigerian economy effectively entering recession, the Federal Government appears frantic in searching for ways of reflating the economy, creating jobs and arresting the current wave of retrenchments by the private sector.

For the seventh quarter since the beginning of 2015, capital spending by the Federal Government has plunged considerably from an all-time high of N1.004 trillion in 2013 to N387.39 billion last year.

The administration had projected the injection of N350 billion for capital and welfare programmes as first quarter release to reverse the negative growth trend but two months after the budget was signed, only about half of the money has so far been released with senior government officials warning that the N6.04 trillion is now unrealistic.

According to the consolidated 2015 Federal Government Budget Implementation Report released by the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, both provisional allocation and implementation levels of capital appropriation dropped from N1.004 trillion in releases and actual implementation of N968.93 billion in 2013 to a paltry N387.39 billion releases.

Even with this, Nigerian Tribune learnt that actual cash backed releases or actual implementation in the 2015 fiscal plan out of the N557 billion provision for the year was considerably lesser.

In the 2012 for instance, N1.017 trillion of the N1.339 trillion projected for capital spending was released to MDAs out of which N739.3 billion (or 72.66 per cent) was actually cash-backed while N686.3 billion (or 92.83 per cent) of the cash-backed sum was utilized by the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Also in 2014, available records show that N501.79 billion of the N1.119 trillion projected for development projects for the year was released to MDAs.

Even then, N501.72 billion (or 99.99 per cent) of the amount released in principle was actually cash-backed while N490.92 billion (or 97.85 per cent) of the cash-backed sum was utilized as at the end of December 2014.

Unfortunately, by mid-2014 crude prices plunged thus seriously affecting government revenues.

Fiscal authority sources told our correspondent that as a last ditch effort, Government have contracted the African Capacity Building Foundation to assist Nigeria in arresting the negative economic trend.

Head of the foundation, Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie Prof. Nnadozie who is already in Nigeria will this morning, commence his task by delivering a goodwill message at a matriculation and investiture ceremony at the National Institute for Legislative Studies.

Nnadozie will hold several brainstorming sessions with key agencies on quick win solution to the obvious quagmire that has seen naira plunging to an all-time-low of N292 to the US$ by last Friday.

Nigeria has also plunged to number four on the list of African countries attracting foreign investment from number one in 2014.

On Tuesday Nnadozie will meet with top officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance and lay down ACBF plans for further capacity building assistance to Nigeria

Nigeria contributed five million dollars (USD 5 million) to the 2017-2021 strategic plan of the Foundation, the highest by an African country.