Senate approves N243.4bn budget for FCT

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By: Joy Odor/Abuja

Senate, yesterday, approved a total of N243, 374, 511, 077. 00 budget for the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA for 2019 fiscal year.

Out of the budget, N55,043,425,247.00 is for personnel costs; N57,610,188,661.00 for overhead cost while the balance of N130,720,897,169.00 is for capital projects.

This was sequel to the consideration of a bill for the service of the FCT for the financial year commencing from January 1 and ending December 31.

The bill, which was presented on the floor of the upper legislative chamber for consideration by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North) during plenary, was eventually passed second and third readings.

Senator Lawan noted that the overall performance of the FCT 2018 statutory allocation was only 61%, adding that “most of the projects executed by the FCTA/FCDA were still ongoing due to overbearing ineptitude of getting Due Process Certificates on time.”

The committee, he added further observed that new and ongoing projects were not sufficiently funded due to delay in the release of funds, occasioned by bureaucratic bottlenecks.

Similarly, the Senate also approved $266million as contained in the 2016-2018 external borrowing plan of President Muhammadu Buhari for the Niger State Development Policy Operation, DPO.

The approval followed the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, chaired by Senator Shehu Sani (PRP, Kaduna Central).

Presenting the report, Senator Sani said that the fund for DPO from the World Bank is proposed to finance key programmes of the government of Niger State, aimed at stimulating internally generated revenue and develop critical infrastructure that will attract private investors to the state and thus increase employment opportunities to residents and citizens.

He explained that “the World Bank Development Policy Operation (DPO) is a budget-support facility to finance budget gaps that governments often encounter in implementing their annual budgets.”

The chairman recalled that the Senate had on July 27, 2017 and November 9, 2017 during its sittings, had mandated the committee to consider the Niger State DPO as contained in the 2016-2018 approved external borrowing plan, following its approval of the loans’ request for a total of seven states.

The committee, in its findings and observations, pointed out that the credit facility has an attractive low financing data of 1.25 percent interest; moratorium of five years and a 25 years maturity tenor.

“According to the latest Dept Management Office figures, Niger State has a total debt stock of $232.1million,” it stated.

The committee added that “approving the current loan request of $266 million for Niger State will bring its total debt stock to $498.1million.”

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