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As Nigerians await the passage of the 2018 budget by the National Assembly, the federal government says its capital expenditure for the 2017 fiscal year was in excess of N1.5 trillion.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this on Sunday in a couple of tweets through her official verified Twitter handle, @HMKemiAdeosun.

Mrs Adeosun was excited the expenditure was higher than the level attained in 2016 when the present administration posted capital spend in excess of N1trillion.

She confirmed in February that over N1.3 trillion was released to federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) for execution of various capital projects in the 2016 budget.

In March, she had projected capital expenditure closing at around N1.3 trillion mark or above.

Mrs 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.

“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),” she tweeted.

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 todays borrowing rate of 13 per cent.

“We will continue to work very hard on debt service cost,” the minister said.

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