By Racheal Ishaya
Abuja – Amid pressure to improve spending on capital projects to bridge the infrastructure deficit in the country, the Federal Government said payment of salaries and pension would remain top priority.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, made this known on Monday in Abuja at the public presentation of the 2017 Appropriation Act.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2017 budget has a total spending estimation of N7.44 trillion, with N2.99 trillion allocated to recurrent expenditure, N2.36 trillion on capital expenditure and N1.66 trillion on debt servicing.
Statistics given by the minister showed that N1.88 trillion, which was 63 per cent of the recurrent expenditure component of the budget, would be spent on personnel cost and N281.1 billion, representing 9.4 per cent, would be spent on pension.
This shows that a total of N2.16 trillion would be spent on salaries and pension alone.
Other aspect of the recurrent expenditure framework includes Overheads, N219.84 billion and N138.7 billion, for Service-wide Votes.
Also, the government plans to spend N76.7 billion on Presidential Amnesty Programme, while the running cost of the special intervention programme is expected to gulp N350 billion.
Udoma also said that the Federal Government plans to spend N40 billion as refund to special accounts.
However, he failed to mention names of the accounts and the purpose intended.
“We have to manage our recurrent expenditure and at the same time, we cannot afford to have any retrenchment.
“Consequently, we must meet our personnel expenses. We have to make sure we provide adequately for salaries and pensions.
“For other items of expenditure such as Overheads, we will only meet those components that are vital and others will be managed down because it is very important that we find the resources to meet our capital expenditure,’’ he said.
NAN recalls that Nigeria needs to invest eight billion dollars annually to bridge the huge infrastructure gap in the country.
According to the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, N210 billion was needed monthly to finance Federal Government Personnel Cost.
She said at the moment, government barely made enough to meet its monthly obligation such as Personnel Cost, Service Debt and finance necessary capital projects.
Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for May, shared N418.9 billion between the federal, states and local government areas from the federation account.
The Federal Government’s share from that amount was N163.9 billion.