The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on wedneaday approved the 2017 budget proposal preparatory to its transmission to the National Assembly for appropriation.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, disclosed this after the FEC meeting in Abuja.. He however did not give out details of the budget nor specifeid when the president would lay the document before the National Assembly.
“With regards to the date, the president will be communicating to the National Assembly and of course, it will be at the National Assembly’s discretion ultimately.
“The president will write to them and after they confirm, then the president can come to address them,” the minister said.
On he 2016 budget, Udoma admitted that implementation been affected by revenue constraint, but that the government has been able to release N800 billion for capital projects and has also paid 100 percent on personnel cost.
“With respect to implementation of 2016, as you are aware that we have revenue constraints. Nevertheless, as we have been briefing regularly we are up to date. We have paid salaries up to date,” Udoma stated.
He insisted that the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) sent to the National Assembly ahead of the presentation of the 2017 budget was not empty but well prepared by “experts”
The Senate had saod that the MTEF sent to the National Assembly October 4, 2016, did not contain the details of the fiscal proposals and describing it as empty and not worth considering.
Briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the over five hours Federal Executive Council (FEC), meeting presided over by President Buhari, Udoma rejected the assertion noting that the estimates contained in the document at the time it was submitted were bound to change because of exchange rate fluctuations.
“The MTEF was a very well prepared document after extensive consultations. We consulted the private sector, the Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) etc.
“But the assumptions of that MTEF were assumptions which were true and correct as of the time it was prepared in August.
“Naturally, every time you improve on your estimate based on the latest the estimates. For instance one of the issues they raised was about the exchange rate, that we used $290 as the exchange rate, and that was the exchange rate of the time.
“So, you only use the exchange rate that is valid at that time. Naturally, by now, you will change that.
“So, the numbers whenever we appear before the National Assembly we’ll engage them and take them through one by one, and through each items.
“But that MTEF was extremely well prepared consistent with the best possible methods of preparation by people who are very experienced in preparing MTEFs,” Udoma explained.
Also speaking, Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said FEC had also approved the business case for concessioning and development of Ikere Gorge Dam in Oyo for six mega watts of electricity, Bakolori Dam in Zamfara for 3.2 megawatts, Jibiya Dam in Katsina for 4 megawatts, Zobe Dam for 0.29 megawatts (290 kilowatts) in Katsina, Kampe Omi in Kogi for two megawatts of electricity and Doma Dam in Nasarawa for one megawatt of hydro electricity.
This, he said, was in furtherance of the administration’s incremental power initiative and rural electrification initiative.
“Not only do these projects further our quest for incremental energy wherever there is legitimate opportunity, they further our quest for renewable energy as well because hydro electricity is also clean energy,” Fashola noted.
Fashola also said FEC also approved the commencement of the Federal Secretariat complex in Ekiti state and the furnishing of the one in Gombe state.
Fashola said even though the Ekiti project was conceived in the year 2000, funding was not provided for it.