The Federal Government on Wednesday urged the National Assembly not to reduce the N1.8tn proposed for capital projects in the 2016 fiscal period.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said this in a statement issued by the Director of Information in the ministry, Mr. Charles Dafe.
For the first time in many years, capital expenditure will be representing 30 per cent of the country’s total budget.
The proposed capital expenditure for 2016 will see significant resources committed to critical sectors such as power, works and housing, N433.4bn; transport, N202bn; special intervention programmes, N200bn; defence, N134.6bn; and interior, N53.1bn.
Udoma urged the lawmakers, who are currently working on the budget proposals, to avoid the mistake of 2015 where only about 10 per cent was allocated for capital projects in that fiscal period.
He said, “We are in challenging times; we want to use the 2016 budget as solutions to our economic problems, especially the 30 per cent capital allocation component in the budget.
“We want to move from the past administration’s faulty traditional ways of managing our economy without development strides.”
On how the government would raise revenue to fund the budget in the face of the current fall in oil prices, the minister said realistic targets had been set for all revenue generating agencies of the government.
He said, “We are working hard to expand fully the nation’s revenues base away from oil base; the government has set achievable targets for all revenues generating agencies; we must collect all revenues that are due and increase tax coverage areas.
“We have set Treasury Single Account that is blocking corruption loopholes and checking revenue leakages.”
The statement also quoted the Minister of State in the ministry, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, to have said the increase in capital expenditure was vital as it was needed to stimulate the productive sectors of the economy.
“A reasonable and sizeable increase in capital allocation for improvement and provision of key infrastructure is required to reflate the economy and help the productive sector to grow our economy, especially the small-scale enterprises,” she added.