Says no more funding of CSOs, media in budget monitoring.
Much of the key infrastructural projects delivery captured in the N8.61 trillion 2018 Federal Government Budget of Nigeria is to be driven under the Public Private Partnership [PPP] arrangement, the Minister of Budget and National Planning , Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma has said.
Speaking at the 2018 budget breakdown in Abuja, Udoma explained that the N295 billion provision made in the budget for major roads in the plan represented only the Federal Government’s commitments or counterpart funding for the projects, insisting that the amount was inadequate for the country’s infrastructural needs .
Udoma said: “The N300 billion for roads is not sufficient. The amount of money we require to fix our infrastructure, including roads is in the trillions. That’s why we are looking for PPPs for almost everything and the N300 billion we have earmarked for roads for next year just represents the Government’s counterpart funding. Most of the projects are to be driven by private sector funds.’’
The strategic thinking is coming apparently on the heels of poor revenue performance witnessed in the current fiscal plan which negatively affected the performance of the Budget due to paucity of funds.
The Minister’s declaration confirmed the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Director General Chidi Izuwah’s disclosure that in order to assist the Nigerian Government manage her rising debt profile through attracting private sector funding of public infrastructure instead of borrowings, the Commission was preparing about 60 projects valued at well over N3.7 trillion which represent private capital commitment towards infrastructure development in Nigeria procurement.
The projects cover key sectors of the economy including transport, energy, education, housing, and health, Izuwah then pointed out. Nigeria’s public debt, much of which are contracted to finance infrastructure is nearly N20 trillion, which has attracted public outcry.
Also, at the ceremony yesterday, the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze said the Budget Office of the Federation has scrapped the financing of civil societies organizations as well as journalists from the quarterly budget monitoring and evaluation even though the sum of N2.1 billion approved for the Office in the 2017 Budget for enhanced stakeholders monitoring to ensure performance by the contractors.
Instead, Akabueze encouraged the media men and the civil society activists to source for funding for budget monitoring from their promoters or organizations and thereafter file their reports to his office.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Alhaji Adamu Adamu ,yesterday declared as a big lie, the insinuation in certain quarters that UNESCO had set 26 per cent of countries’ entire budget for the financing of education.
He said : “ I just returned from Paris for the UNESCO Conference and I took the matter up with the DG and he said never has there been a time that UNESCO set a minimum education financing level of 26 per cent for countries. So there is nothing like that. However, I am pleading with the Federal Government to raise my allocation from N450 billion to at least half a billion,” pleaded Adamu who was reacting to a question asked by a stakeholder on when Nigeria’s education funding would get to 26 per cent.