President of Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki


The Senate, Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber on Thursday expressed deep concerns over the poor implementation of the 2018 budget and blamed the executive arm of government for not releasing adequate funds that could enable the federal agencies to execute developmental projects.

President Muhammadu Buhari had presented the Federal Government’s budget proposal of N8.612 trillion for the 2018 fiscal year, which was increased by over N500billion to N9.120trillion by the House of Representatives, the lower legislative chamber. The Federal Government tagged it a budget of consolidation premised on crude oil price of $45 per barrel benchmark.                                                                                                                                        

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Suleiman Adokwe, stated this while addressing journalists shortly after the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, defended his ministry’s 2019 budget before the panel.

Adokwe said, “Before the budget defence exercise, we had done a bit of oversight functions and we noticed that releases for capital projects were quite low. Most of the agencies that we visited received between 10 and 15 per cent releases.

“Based on our interactions with the various agencies of government, we have discovered that capital releases are still very low. So far, the highest I have seen, the highest release is 67 per cent.

“Releases to some agencies are hovering between 40 and 45 per cent. So, the 2018 budget implementation, in our opinion, is not very encouraging and capital releases are what really ginger the economy.

“This is because it is the expenditure arising from capital provisions that put money in the system and this has been very low. Only salaries have been paid up to 100 per cent.

“Overhead releases have not been up to 60 per cent in many cases and even most agencies received just for six months for the 2018 financial year which is not good enough.

“If you look at the 2018 total budget of N9trn, it sounds like big money until when you do a quick conversion in dollars, and then you will discover that it is actually about $25bn.”

He said the money was small for a country like Nigeria with over 200 million people.

He however insisted that Nigerians do not feel the impact of government because of the failure of the executive to adequately fund the 2018 budget.

The senator advised the executive to release all the funds that would be appropriated for the various federal ministries, departments and agencies if it wanted Nigerians to feel the impact of government.

 “The revenue being generated yearly by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigeria Customs Service and other collection agencies are even higher than what we are talking about, so why are we experiencing poor releases?”, he questioned rhetorically.