Chris Steven, Abuja
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity,Garba Shehu, has said contrary to insinuations that the Federal Government would finance the 2016 budget deficit with the N3trillion savings from the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
According to Shehu,the financial wilderness suffered by Nigerians would be over in only a matter of days as the TSA policy has proven to be an effective means of putting checks on frivolous spending especially by MDAs.
The Federal Government recently began the reconstruction of schools and other social infrastructures destroyed in the wake of terrorism in the North East zones,comprising Bauchi,Gombe,Taraba,Yobe,Borno and Adamawa states.
The National Assembly had before the Easter break passed the 2016 budget with a reduction of N17.8bn from the initial N6.077trillion presented by Buhari in December 2015.
The President had presented before the National Assembly a budget proposal of N6.07trillion but the lawmakers pruned it down to N6.06trillion, a reduction of N17billion.
The N17billion reduction was reflected in the recurrent expenditure of government, according to explanations given by the chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje.
The lawmakers had adopted a benchmark price of $38 per barrel of crude oil with crude oil production of 2.2 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of N197 to $1.
Further analysis of the budget showed statutory transfers of; N351,370,000,000, debt service N1,475,320,000,000, recurrent expenditure N2,646,389,236,196, capital expenditure N1,587,598,122,031 and fiscal deficit of N2,204, 936,925,711.16.
They had unanimously agreed that the budget will run for a course of 12 months, beginning from the date it is assented to by the President in line with Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution.
Shehu, at a public function organised by the coordinator Atiku media office,Paul Ibe, in Abuja said government would mark a clear departure from financial recklessness which characterized ex-President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He alleged that the immediate past administration awarded contracts but failed to back such projects with mobilization funds, a situation that must have caused untold sufferings for such contractors.
Shehu assured that the presidency would award contracts and back it up with funds from the N3trillion savings.
He said,”Nigerians should be patient,maybe its imperative to reveal that this President has more money in the Central Bank of Nigeria today that he can spend than any other President had.
“He has more than N3trillion that he saved from Treasury Single Account,recall that in 2014 and 2015, if you look at the entire budget of the Jonathan government, it was not more than N4trillion each year, in 2016 you have N3trillion set aside as money to be spent on projects and other government overheads.
“So in a matter of weeks, this country would be flooded with money because projects will come and it will be quite unlike what we had in the past when they will give you contract and allow you to go and hang yourself.
“Buhari’s government will give jobs and back it with money,so Nigerians will be happy again in a short while,once the budget is assented to life will get back.
Meanwhile,Wife of the former Vice President,Titi Atiku Abubakar, at the function, said Nigerians must learn to imbibe the virtue of delayed gratification, as the current administration of President Buhari was not resting on its oars to make life meaningful to citizens.
In her Easter message to Nigerians, she expressed optimism that in no distant time Nigerians would forget their sufferings once they embrace the change mantra of this administration.