Oscarline Onwuemenyi 07 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – In the midst of growing recession occasioned by widespread inflation and depressed revenue earnings, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said the Federal Government’s N6.06 trillion budget for this year will, when fully implemented, reflate the economy and stimulate economic growth.
Fashola, however, warned that the government’s aim of achieving inclusion and employment, through the N6.6 trilion 2016 budget may be elusive; and that the people targeted may not benefit, if government’s spending or contracts were mainly handled by foreign companies.
He also said the gains might not be realised if professionals were either not participating or, where they did, preferred imported goods to local ones.
He noted that “The end really is to reflate this economy, to stimulate it back to growth and back to productivity. To provide the opportunity for people to feel included in the economy in a way that growth then translates into employment for them. Employment for ordinary hardworking people who can then get up in the morning and say with the dignity that comes with it that I am going to work.”
He added, “But I must advise that inclusion and employment will not happen by happenstance. They will not happen simply because the government plans to spend money and actually does so.
“Yes, the budget will work, money will be spent, but inclusion may not happen and the people targeted for the benefit may not benefit, if the benefit is transferred to foreign countries, to foreign factories because professionals either do not participate or where they do, they prefer foreign-made or imported goods to local ones.”
He urged indigenous companies, professionals, artisans and all Nigerians to take advantage of the Federal Government’s budget of N1.8 trillion for capital expenditure, in particular; and N6.06 trillion total budget size, to increase their patronage, professional efficiency, job and wealth creation potential.
The minister spoke during the fifth meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, NCLHUD, which was themed, ‘Building adequate capacity of professionals, artisans, and tradesman in the built environment.’
According to him, the plan of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to increase the capital spending in 2016 budget to 30 percent of the total budget size of N6.06 trillion was “enough evidence of change.”
He stated that the aim of the budget was to reflate the economy, stimulate it and increase national productivity.
Fashola said, “The decisions taken by the Buhari administration is to increase the capital spending in 2016 budget to 30 percent of the total budget size of N6.06 trillion. This is a change for those who still ask what has changed.
“It is a change because it is a welcome departure from almost a decade of spending only 10 percent of our annual budget on capital expenditure. “It means that unlike in the past, when only about N400 billion was planned for capital spending, and indeed much less was ultimately released and spent, this year about N1.8 trillion is planned for capital spending with the commitment to fund it.