The Senate, yesterday, tackled the Executive arm of government over the poor implementation of the 2017 budget and the release of about 15 per cent of the N2.177 trillion voted for capital projects.
Worried by the huge gap in the capital budget and the actual amount released so far, the senators warned that the trend could cause serious injury to the economy and citizenry.
The Senate spoke while drilling the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and her Budget and National Planning counterpart, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, for over two hours, yesterday.
The duo appeared before the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriations where members of the Committee asked the ministers various questions ranging from revenue profile to what had been released so far to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs of government. For 2017, the Federal Government had a budget of N7.4 trillion of which N2.177 trillion was voted for capital projects.
So far, Mrs Adeosun said N341 billion has been released for capital projects. Frowning at the poor implementation of the budget, the lawmakers warned that if not corrected and improved on, it could hurt the All Progressive Congress, APC, in the next election.
Senators at the meeting sharply disagreed with the Federal Government over plans to release only an insignificant fraction of the N2.177 trillion capital vote in the 2017 budget.
Answering questions during the meeting, Adeosun and Udoma who told the senators that the government lacked adequate funding for the budget, said the government intends to release over N100 billion this week, in addition to the N310 billion earlier released for capital projects.
Senator Danujma Goje, Chairman of the committee said: “If the trend of poor releases continues like this, Nigerians will die off. It’s not good to raise people’s hopes and dash them. In implementing the January-December fiscal system, we should be careful not to sacrifice half of the 2017 budget.”