Wednesday, December 14, 2016

FG: N565bn Recovered Loot Forms Part of 2017 Budget
By Ismail Mudashir & Musa Abdullahi Krishi
Nigeria Daily Trust
Dec 14 2016 2:00AM

President Muhammadu Buhari presents the 2016 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja

A total of N565billion stolen funds have been recovered by the government and included in the 2017 budget.

This is revealed in a revised Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) submitted to the National Assembly last week.

President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present a proposed budget of N7.28 trillion for 2017 at a joint session of the National Assembly today, an increase of ‎about 19.95 per cent over 2016 budget of N6.07 trillion.

The MTEF, however, showed that the amount included $320million equivalent to N97.6 billion Abacha loot being expected from the Swiss government.

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said yesterday the money was almost ready.

“It is virtually at hand... We believe we will get it,” he said during a meeting with the Senate Committees on Finance, Appropriation and National Planning on MTEF/Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

The recovered funds included N261billion domestic recoveries and another N205.5 billion tagged “other FGN recoveries.”

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in June revealed that the government had recovered cash totalling N78.3billion, $185million, 3.5million Pounds Sterling and 11, 250 Euros.

The Federal government targeted collectible revenue of N10.4trillion from gross oil revenue of N5trillion, dividend payment (NLNG) N61billion, Solid minerals N2.5billion, gross non-oil revenue N5.06trillion, Non-federation account levies N53billion, education tax N188.7billion and National Information Technology Development Fund N24billion.

Also, the Federal government is proposing to borrow N2.3trillion to finance deficit in the 2017 budget.  While N1.2 trillion is expected to be sourced locally, N1.067trillion would be sourced from abroad.

For debt service, the Federal government proposed N1.6 trillion for both domestic and foreign debts.

In the document, N115billion was budgeted for the National Assembly for the 2017 fiscal year same as in 2016.

 On borrowing for 2017 budget, Udoma said the government would take N1.067trillion equivalent to $3.5billion from World Bank and Euro bond.

Also speaking, the Director General of the Budget office, Mr. Ben Akabueze said the N1.2trillion domestic loan for the 2016 budget has been fully drawn.

Similarly, the House of Representatives yesterday commenced consideration of the 2017-2019 MTEF/FSP ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s budget presentation today.

The consideration was sequel to a motion by House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, who said the MTEF was submitted in line with Section 11 (2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

He said the Act also provides that MTEF should contain a macro-economic framework setting out the macro-economic projections for the next three financial years.

After debate on the motion, with some lawmakers arguing that some of the projections were not feasible, the House referred the two documents to the committees on finance, appropriations, national planning and economic development, legislative budget and research and, aids, loans and debt management to scrutinize and make recommendations to the House.

N/Assembly wears new look

Meanwhile, our correspondents observed that the National Assembly premises wore a new look ahead of Buhari’s budget presentation.

It was observed that some major parts of the building, especially the White House, where the two chambers of the federal legislature are located, were painted yesterday, while the grasses around the premises were trimmed.

Daily Trust further gathered that all civil servants and many other support staff at the National Assembly were asked not to come to work today as the president presents the budget estimates.


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