*Releases N400b for capital expenditure
By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
The Minister for National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has stated that the Federal Government is targeting the sum of $15b from sale of assets and concession of key infrastructure as a way of raising funds for developmental purposes.
This is coming just as Udoma stated that so far, the Federal Government has only met 25 per cent performance in its capital expenditure via the release of N400b out of the project sum of N1.2t earmarked for capital expenditure.
Fielding questions from reporters attached to a Lagos based television station on Friday, the Minister lamented that the current recession being witnessed in the nation’s economy is caused by twin effects of reduction in output from oil exploration and down slide in the price of crude oil in the international market.
“We are taking some measures to steer the country away from the current recession that the economy is currently witnessing. One of such measure is that we (FG) are targeting something in the region of $15b from sales of assets, concession of some assets and infrastructure as well as accruals from licensing of operators in some sectors of the nation’s economy.” The minister stated.
Udoma stated that the Federal Government has been meeting its obligations to the workforce in the nation’s civil service by prompt payment of their emolument just as he stated that the effects of the released N400b for capital expenditure are yet to be felt owing to the need to adhere strictly to due process.
“So far, we have released the sum of N400b to various MDAs for their capital projects. Some of them have gotten theirs while others are yet to get theirs because we are ensuring that all the necessary due processes are followed.” He said.
When asked of if the Federal Government had envisaged the current economic recession, Udoma replied saying, “No! We had actually thought that the economy would remain flat and not slide into recession. We went into recession because we have failed significantly to meet up with our OPEC quota for oil production.
“As at now, the country produces half of its allotted 2.2m barrels per day thus reducing the earnings of the country, no thanks to the activities of the militants in the Niger-Delta region. The situation is further exacerbated by the sharp drop in oil prices across the world.” He said.
On the way out, he stated that the country must find a way out of the current over reliance on oil as the nation’s mono-economic mainstay by looking at other sources where income can be generated.