FG release N750bn for capital projects under 2017 budget

According to reports, the federal government has so far released the sum of N750 billion for capital projects under the 2017 budget.

This was revealed by Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, just as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the 2018 fiscal estimates of the federal government.

Speaking while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, at the presidential villa, she also announced that FEC had approved the memo establishment of road trust fund structure.

She said the memo was presented with the input of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, saying that it is a Public Private Participation (PPP) initiative that will allow the private sector to get involved in road construction in exchange for the tax credit.

She explained: “What is unique about the scheme is that it is building on an existing scheme that avails tax credit but is one company per road and we have found that only two companies have been able to take advantage of it.

“The tax will be recovered over a three year period. We expect this to mobilise significant capital into road provision across the country.

“The ministry of works will be approving the design and the cost of those roads. The PPP will also provide certificates of no objection to make sure that the cost is reasonable. Ministry of Works will supervise.

“What we expect is significant road delivery especially in areas for example, industrial clusters affected by very bad roads.”

She noted that those involved would work together on the roads and recover their money through the tax credit system.

The minister added: “We expect the impact on revenues to be neutral because we are tightening our tax code but we still put in a limit that no company can apply and use more than 50 per cent of the tax within a year for this scheme.

“A company doesn’t have to be active in that area. So, a bank, oil company, service company could get involved. We are really trying to widen the pool of funds for road construction.”

In his remarks, Minster of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, affirmed that FEC approved the 2018 budget and would now work with the National Assembly to determine the appropriate date for its submission by President Buhari.

“Council approved a draft 2018 budget proposals. So we will be loading with the National Assembly to where on a date in which the president will formally submit the budget to them,” he said.

Asked to give details of the budget, he said only the president could do that.

He added: “It is the president prerogative to submit the budget, submit the proposals and give the details. I will be operating above my brief if I do that, the constitution gives that authority to the president.

“We did promised that the budget will be ready in October and it will be ready in October.

“We are liaising with the National Assembly because they have to approve the date for the president to come and address them to submit the budget.”

On how feasible it was for the budget to be passed in January, Udoma stated:

“Before now we use to submit in December but now the budget is ready in October. So, there is a very big difference.”

Also speaking, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Fashola, said FEC approved the construction of 14-kilometer 330KVA transmission line for Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to get them ready, to evacuate Azua power plant in Edo State when ready in May 2018.

He said the contract is for the sum of N796.6 million for a period of seven months, just about when azua should be ready.

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