Government May Not Implement all Projects in the Budget – SGF

Bayo Ajibola

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, said Government would concentrate on key projects in the implementation of the 2016 Appropriation Act.

The SGF made this known when he appeared before the Joint Committees on Ethics, Appropriation and Finance in Abuja on Wednesday.

He was reacting to statement attributed to him on non-implementation of constituency projects in the country.

He admitted to making the statement as quoted in a national daily on June 28 but said the statement was his view and not the position of government.

He, however, withdrew the statement, after pressure from the committee to do so.

“The invitation I have here is in connection with the comment credited to me in the newspaper of June 28, 2016. It is true.

This is to the effect that government might find it very difficult to implement all projects in the budget.

In particular, my views that some of the projects that might suffer lack of implementation are constituency projects among others are correct,” he said.

He agreed making the statement in view of the realities, adding that with the dwindling revenue base of the country, implementing all projects in the budget would be difficult.

“Now, I want to be truthful to the position of the government on this. You predicated the revenue base of the government at 2.2 million barrels per day.

The revenue is dwindling to 800,000 barrels per day subsequent upon which there will be inability to finance projects appropriated for.

It is important for politicians and government to prepare the minds of the people that there are challenges in implementing the budget.

As to what MDAs might do or not do in terms of their mandate. I will like to let you in on the mind of the government with respect to implementation of capital projects.

We budgeted for only capital projects that are key to the mandate of the government that the government considers very important, like restoring security, employment, and diversification.

A lot of the MDAs were guided to comply with this principle. That illustrates why the implementation of certain projects will be very difficult in the light of dwindling resources.

Our revenue profile so far according to Minister of Budget, is basically 50 per cent to 60 per cent of our projected earnings, meaning there might be 40 per cent loss in the budget,” he said.

He, however, assured that all projects listed in the Appropriation Act would be implemented if the revenue profile of government improved before the end of the fiscal year.

The Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Sam Anyanwu, emphasised the need for all arms of government to respect the separation of powers as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (Amended).

He said the independence of every arm of government must be respected for the sustenance of democracy in the country.

“We need to respect each other and avoid interference. What we have said today is a way forward for the development of the country and not to berate anybody. If there are things you are not sure of or not comfortable with, you can consult with the Senate before going to press.” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalls that Babachir was summoned to to explain his statement on non-implementation of constituency projects.

Bayo Ajibola

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