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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmad, has disclosed that more than 56% of the approved expenditure for capital projects in the approved 2019 Budget was released by the Federal Government.

Ahmad, said various ministries, departments and agencies received N1.2 trillion (56.1%) out of the total N2.14 trillion (excluding the capital component of statutory transfers) capital budget.

“So far, as at last week, we have released up to N1.2 trillion in capital expenditure, which is a 50% performance of the capital for the whole year 2019.

“It is clear that the 2019 budget is also a six-month budget. So we have achieved a ‘fifth per cent’ capital release for 50% performance of the 2019 budget.

“We have also been able to release all that is required for personnel. So, personnel expenditure is on course, debt service is also on course,” she was quoted in a Premium Times report.

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Ahmad lists 2019 achievement: Ahmad highlighted the revenue performance in the course of nine months in 2019 as one of the Ministry’s accomplishment. After nine months of 2019, a total of about N4.25 trillion was recorded, representing a performance level of about 81%.

She said that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of the economy, which reported about 2.28% in the third quarter. However, the GDP performance planned for the year is 3.5%. Ahmad also disclosed that the government had been able to release eight months’ overhead for general MDAs and 11 months’ overhead for some MDA’s classified as critical.

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According to a report, the security services, the Federal Government Unity Colleges as well as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Nigeria Prisons Service are the MDAs considered critical. The government is reportedly working on the 12-month overhead release for this category of MDAs, according to Ahmad.

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The Finance Minister also claimed that the return of the budget to the standard January-to-December period was worth celebrating. Nairametrics reported that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law and announced that it could still be reviewed for amendment.

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She also listed the Finance Bill has one of the achievements of the Ministry, even though the bill hasn’t been passed by the National Assembly. Ahmad, however, thinks the 2019 Finance Bill will be passed before the end of this week.

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