As Nigerians await the passage of the 2018 Budget, the Federal Government has said it has expended over N1.5 trillion for the 2017 fiscal year .
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun disclosed this on Sunday in a tweet through her official verified Twitter handle, @HMKemiAdeosun.
Adeosun said that the expenditure was higher than the level attained in 2016 when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari posted capital expenditure above N1trillion.
The Minister had in February, 2018 confirmed that over N1.3 trillion was released to federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) for execution of various capital projects.
In March, she had projected capital expenditure closing at around N1.3 trillion mark or above.
Adeosun, who gave details of the capital releases, said the 2017 expenditure covered five key areas, namely power, works and housing (N301.89 billion), defence (N151.2 billion), agriculture (N119.9 billion) transport (N127.9 billion). Other sectors took a total of N547.6 billion.
The N7.44 trillion ‘Budget of Recovery & Growth’ in 2017 included N2.99 trillion for non-debt recurrent expenditure and N2.36 trillion for capital expenditure. This indicates that the above N1.5 trillion capital spending is still less than 70 per cent of the budgeted capital expenditure.
The minister tweeted thus, “I’m pleased to note that we’re going to close the 2017 budget with capital spending in excess of N1.5 Trillion, which is higher than what we achieved in the 2016 budget. We’re also looking forward to the passage of the 2018 budget by @nassnigeria (National Assembly.”
Reiterating her call on the need to diversify the country’s revenue base, the minister commended the revenue agencies for adding more than five million new taxpayers to the country’s tax base in the last two years.
Last week, the minister said the number of tax identification numbers (NIMs) issued by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) increased by almost 50 per cent within the last two years.
The minister said this showed a strong social partnership government has built with the Nigerian people. She said from about 14 million in 2016, the country’s tax base has grown to over 19 million in 2018.
“More than 5 million new taxpayers added to #Nigeria’s tax base in the last two years. @firsNigeria and other Tax Authorities (at State level) are doing a great deal of work on expanding the tax base and enforcement of tax payment. We must diversify our revenue base,” she also tweeted
On the country’s debt, she said the management strategy focused on bringing down borrowing costs was working.
She said during the corresponding period last year, the federal government was borrowing at an average cost of about 18 per cent, against today’s borrowing rate of 13 per cent.
“We will continue to work very hard on debt service cost,” the minister added.