By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Abuja
As the presidency awaits the official transmission of the 2017 budget from the National Assembly, the Economic Management Team (EMT) yesterday looked at the different avenues for funding the 2017 appropriations.
The senior special assistant media to the acting president Laolu Akande,told journalists that the despite not receiving a formal copy of the 2017 budget, the EMT is already looking at the funding options available so that it can commence immediate implementation.
He said a smaller committee had been constituted in the EMT to look at the issue of funding.
He said “The EMT discussed the funding of the budget so that we can hit the ground running, once we receive the budget formally and sign. That was what was discussed in relation to the budget, revenues, loans etc.
“There are basically ongoing discussions. There is a smaller group in the EMT that is responsible for the funding and it is just an ongoing discussion.”
The EMT is chaired by the Acting President and has the ministers of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma,Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah as members alongside the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Directors General of the Budget Office, Debt Management Office and other relevant agencies.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the National Assembly last week passed the 2017 Appropriations Bill, raising the budget from N7.28 trillion earlier proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari in December last year, to N7.44 trillion.
On Friday, Ahmed Lawan, senate leader, explained why the National Assembly increased the budget from N7.3 trillion to N7.45 trillion.
The Senate leader told State House Correspondents that the second Abuja Airport runway and some other projects were covered from the difference in the $42.5 oil bench mark proposed by the executive and the $44.5 passed by the legislature.
“We have been able to capture for example the second Abuja airport runway which we all need in this country; we have suffered from having only one.
“We have also been able to capture in the national assembly from that fund the completion of the Baro inland port. We have also been able to also include the Abeokuta airport. There are so many other things including the Warri– Aladja rail line and so on and so forth.
“These are newly introduced capital projects from the proceeds, the difference between the $44.5 (passed by the national assembly) and the $42.5 bench mark that we received from the executive.
“So, we have done fantastically well. There were no major issues like we had last year during the processing of the budget,’’ he said.
According to him, what the legislature passed was still within the good bounds of what the executive presented as there was no significant change in the allocations.