Tuesday, 4 August 2015

2016 Budget: We Are Giving Capital Projects Priority – @MBuhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on monday in Abuja ordered the National Planning Commission (NPC) to go back to the drawing board and produce a framework for the 2016 budget that will reduce recurrent expenditure and prioritise developmental projects.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, said Buhari gave the order after receiving a briefing from the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Bassey Akpanyung, at the Presidential Villa.
The statement said: “The president told Akpanyung and directors of the NPC that capital projects must now be given the fullest possible priority because Nigeria cannot achieve real development without adequate investment in capital and infrastructure projects.
“In carrying out its role in surveillance of the economy, review and appraisal of policies, the commission should devise a plan for a realignment of the budget so that capital projects can be really prioritised.”
The executive secretary of the NPC had informed the president that Nigeria’s planning system was beset by many challenges.
These challenges, he said, included the non-alignment of national plans with the annual budget and inadequate capacity in the Departments of Planning, Research and Statistics in the various government ministries.
Akpanyung had after his meeting with the president informed journalists that the president had directed the commission to identify core capital projects and concentrate on them instead of embarking on too many projects at the same time.
He said: “The president has specifically directed that we have to take a second look at the capital projects and funding for them rather than spreading capital funding widely that will not impact on anything.
“We should look at the core priority areas, select those and fund them effectively to the end and take on second priority areas and do likewise.”
He said the NPC team came to brief the president on the activities of the commission, which he explained covered mainly the preparation of long term and medium-term plans for the economy.
“We used the opportunity to inform him that we already have on the ground a perspective plan, that is, the national Vision 20:20:20 and we are in the process of developing a medium-term plan to cover Vision 2016 to 2019 which will address the core elements of this present administration’s priorities.
“We sought his support for the articulation and finalisation of that document because his pronouncement on it will assist us in rapidly rolling it out,” he explained.
According to him, the core areas to be addressed are security, diversification of the economy, stabilising the polity, and focus on the micro-economic situation.
He also said that the commission would work on unemployment, agriculture and the real sector.
“These are the areas that will drive and ensure that the employment situation is improved upon and that will impact the poverty level,” he added.
Despite Buhari’s directive to the NPC, Nigerian and foreign investors have become jittery over the delay in the appointment of his ministers and absence of a clear economic policy direction.