16 November 2015, Abuja – There were indications on Sunday that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s economic team will meet revenue generating agencies this week over the 2016 budget.
The team comprises the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and her counterpart for National Planning and Budget, Senator Udo Udoma, as well as the minister of state for the ministry, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.
The meeting with permanent secretaries and directors of finance of relevant ministries, departments and agencies, it was gathered, is aimed at costing the prioritised projects that would be included in the budget.
MDAs expected at the meeting are the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation among others.
It was also learnt that other government agencies, whose programmes are critical to the priority areas of government, would be invited to make presentations on projects expected to be implemented by them in 2016.
Some of them are ministries of power, works and housing, petroleum, agriculture, education, environment, health, transport, solid minerals, labour as well as the ministry of industry, trade and investments.
Investigations revealed that the principles that would be adopted for admitting projects into the budget would include impact on employment and welfare, inter-linkages with other sectors and projects and alignment with the post-2015 development agenda.
Others are the project’s potential for significant economic impact as well as the potential to attract the private sector and donor funding.
It was gathered that the meeting between the Ministry of Planning and Budgeting, the revenue generating agencies and other government agencies would focus on how to link the plan of the current administration to the 2016 budget.
Representatives of the MDAs, it was gathered, would also be requested to justify the associated cost of their programmes and projects based on the Key Performance Indicators approved in the medium term plan.
The Assistant Director of Information, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Salisu Haiba, could not be reached for comments and calls and text messages sent to his telephone set did not connect as of the time of filing this report.
But the timeline for preparation of the budget, which had already been circulated to all MDAs by the ministry of Budget and National Planning, stipulates that the meeting with “Permanent Secretaries and Directors of relevant MDAs for the bilateral sessions on the strategic projects/programmes identifications” would be held by mid-November.
Meanwhile, amidst dwindling oil price, the Federal Government is targeting an increase in the share of non-oil revenue to 40.14 per cent of the total revenue in 2016.
The figure, according to the Medium Term Plan 2016-2020, prepared by the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, is an increase over 31.91 per cent in 2015.
The Federal Government, in a bid to achieve macroeconomic stability is targeting a debt service to Revenue Ratio of 2.47 per cent in 2016 up from the current 1.51 per cent and a debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio of 11.42 per cent, down from the current 12.63 per cent.
In a bid to ensure prudent fiscal management of the nation’s resources, the government according to the document, has also pegged the expenditure to GDP ratio at 4.13 per cent, down from the current 5.17 per cent.
The share of capital to recurrent expenditure is put at 31.47 per cent, up from 28.53 per cent in 2015.
The Federal Government is also targeting an inflow of $2bn (N394bn) next year from development partners such as the European Union, Department for International Development and World Bank among others.
The amount is expected to be sourced through a window identified as Official Development Assistance.
The $2bn ODA inflow, being targeted for next year, represents an increase of $700m or 53.8 per cent over the inflow of $1.3bn in the current fiscal year.
It is also planning to increase the amount in the Sovereign Wealth Fund through the injection of a fresh $1bn next year.
The $1bn injection, when added to the $1.5bn in the fund, will bring the balance in the account to $2.5bn.
Barring any last minute change in plans, the Federal Government may allocate a huge chunk of the 2016 budget for the development of infrastructure and the transformation of the agriculture sector, investigations have revealed.
It was gathered that in a bid to stimulate the economy and fight poverty in the country, the Federal Government had decided to focus on six major areas to guide the preparation of the 2016 budget.
They are economic, social development, infrastructure, governance, environment, state and regional development.
The immediate past Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Bassey Akpanyadung, had, while speaking during the assumption of office of the new ministers of the ministry on Thursday, said over the years, the economy had been stagnated as government plans were not usually aligned with the budget.
Udoma had said during his first official meeting at the ministry that since the new administration had promised to change the way things were done, Nigerians would soon begin to see improvement in the economy.
“The message is that change is coming, things are going to get better, things are difficult and it not going to be easy but we will ensure that all hands are on deck to turn things around.”