The Ministers of Finance and Budget as well as the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have met with the National Assembly Committees on Appropriation over the 2016 budget.
Speaking during an interactive session with the lawmakers, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, explained the Federal Government’s borrowing plan and also the present status of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
She gave account that the total volume of what had passed through the TSA was presently at about 2.9 trillion Naira, saying that the ministry was more concerned about the balance.
“When I say ‘passed through’, money comes in (and) money goes out. So it will be wrong for us to say we have 2.7 trillion which is available to spend because some of that money (for example) belong to NNPC [Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation],” she said.
The legislators raised concern that the government Ministries, Departments Agencies, during the budget defence sessions, complained that the funds appropriated would not cover the cost of salaries and overhead.
However, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said that although the government had cut overheads by nine per cent, there were no plans to retrench workers.
“We cannot raise the borrowing any more than we have in our view. So it was more of an appeal not to increase the budget size. It is just an appeal that I am making because of the very tight situation we have in terms of being able to finance the budget,” he said.
The Minister also stressed that the Federal government would follow a budget timetable in 2017 and have an extensive engagement with civil society organisations and stakeholders in preparation of the 2017 budget.
DOWNWARD SLIDE OF THE NAIRA
In his remark, the Deputy Governor of the CBN, Mr Joseph Nnana, attributed the downward slide of the Naira to the activities of some individuals who lodged 20 billion dollars in different domiciliary accounts in Nigeria.
“All these problems affecting the Naira is our own self-making.
“As I speak, we Nigerians and Nigeria entities have over 20 billion dollar in our various domiciliary account.
“And the question we ask is this: Naira is our national currency, why should we be having domiciliary account to the size of 20 billion and above?” he asked.
Mr Nnana warned that those who speculate on the Naira would face the wrath of the law, noting that the CBN would embark on an aggressive liquidity mop up to enable the Naira regain confidence.