Why we’re yet to inject N350b into economy – Minister

Why we’re yet to inject N350b into economy – Minister
June 09 10:01 2016

The Federal Government on Wednesday explained the reason why it is yet to inject N350 billion into the economy weeks after the 2016 Budget was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma who briefed State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting procedural lapses were responsible for the delay adding however that the money will be made available in the next one week or two.

It would be recalled that on March 22 this year,the government said it intends to inject N350b into the economy to revive significant activities back into the economy.

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun had at the end of the two-day National Economic Council (NEC) Retreat at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the money  will partly be used to offset contractual debts in the country.

Udoma said his ministry  briefed  FEC about the economy and the steps that they  need to take and the Council approved that the various MDAs should fast track the processes for the capital budgets so that the economy can be quickly reflated  .

He said,”as far as the N350 billion which was indicated, the money is available but there is a process and this is part of the reasons we briefed council and there is need to fast track those processes so that very soon most of those monies will be released. We expect in the ministry of works, they should have quite substantial release in the next week or so.

“It’s easier for us for existing projects but new projects are a bit more difficult because of the public procurement. The public procurement you have to advertise and you have to wait for six weeks  and so on. So new project will take a bit longer.

” But existing projects that have already gone through the public procurement process‎ will be faster and I believe that you will soon start seeing the impact of those releases.
On the level of releases,he said,”I think what we will probably do is ‎because that wasn’t part of what council discussed, so what we will do we will be giving numbers from time to time. So I’m sure within the week we should be able to give you numbers.

On recession as hinted by CBN and the retrenchment in the banking sector, the Minister recalled that the government    launched a strategic document, and  ‎set out 34 things they intend  to achieve this year

He added that”we set out all our objectives. We have a plan and the plan is to reflate the economy. What has happened to Nigeria is not a surprise to the government, it is something that we came in to meet, it has been caused by the fall of crude oil prices from over $100 to less than $30 and so we came in to meet that problem.”

“The decision that we took to address that problem is to reflate the economy and the budget was aimed to achieve that and that is why you have in the budget a plan to spend a large amount of money on infrastructure but as you know the budget was only recently passed.

He noted that It takes time for the money to be released to hit the economy and for Nigerians to begin to see the impact adding that” So we have a plan, we know the situation we are in right now and we have a plan to get out of the situation. ”

“It is just that at this particular point in time we expected this trajectory because the releases will only start kicking in so that by the third quarter we will start seeing the impact of what we are doing to reflate the economy.”

‎On speculated plan to sack workers in para-military organisations,he said there is no policy in this government to retrench workers and pleaded with the private sector to reconsider their stance.

He said, ” That is news to me, I am not aware of any instruction to anybody to sack anybody, in fact the policy of this government, we said so at the beginning that we are not going to retrench, there is a natural wastage which happens in government, there are people who retire, people who may be disciplined but there is no policy in this government to retrench. So I want to disabuse your mind that there is no such policy.

“With regards to the plea to the private sector, is because we know that by the time the economy picks up, they will need those people again‎. We know the economy is going to pick up we are confident about that, that is because of our plan, the plan was conceived because we knew that this was the trajectory we will move into.

He also disclosed that the government has a plan to move the country up 20 places in the ease of doing business rating.

“We want to stimulate the private sector because we know that even the spending by government alone will not be sufficient, we also need to have policies that will encourage the private sector. We do have a plan, it was launched, it was taken to cabinet, approved by cabinet and the minister of state had announced,” he said.