By Racheal Ishaya
The Director-General, Budget office of the Federation Mr Ben Akabueze said the projection to generate 2.2 million barrels per day of crude oil, quoted in the 2017 budget was realistic and achievable.
Akabueze said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on the sideline of the African Finance Corporation Summit on Tuesday in Abuja.
“There is nothing over ambitious about our producing 2.2 million barrels per day.
“Yes we are not doing that at the moment, but that does not make it over ambitious .
“The question is do we have the capacity? Right now the country has the capacity to produce 2.5 million barrels per day,” he said.
Akabueze said the country could not generate 2.2 million barrels as expected in 2016, due to the destruction of oil production facilities by militants.
“The government has committed itself to arresting the restlessness in the Niger-Delta so that in the process, some of the facilities that have been destroyed or shut-down two years ago are coming back on stream.
“According to NNPC we are already at two million barrels per day and by the time Escravos comes back on stream, next month or there about, we will be at 2.2 million barrels per day,” he said.
Akabueze also confirmed that the executive is yet to receive the budget that was passed by both chambers of the National Assembly last week.
When asked if the executive will accept the changes made in the budget by the legislators, especially the increase of the budget by N143 billion, he said the President would determine what happens.
“There is a formal process of transmitting the budget to the President, so what you have heard which is that the passed budget has not been formally transmitted, is correct.
“Until the budget is formally transmitted to Mr President, we cannot begin to discuss whether or not what has been passed can be implemented. That is a decision for the President to make.
“When we look at what was passed, via-a-vis what was sent in, if there are any changes, our jobs is to highlight that to him, then he will make a decision,” he said.
It will be recalled that the 2017 Appropriation Bill was passed last week by the National Assembly.
The approved budget is N7.44 trillion being N143 billion higher than the estimates submitted by President Buhari in December 2016.
The sum is also N1.38 trillion higher than the sum approved in the 2016 Appropriation Act, being 22.76 percent increase over the 2016 approved sum.
The 2017 budget had Statutory transfer projections of N434. 41 billion, N1.84 trillion for Debt Servicing and N177.46 billion for Sinking Fund from maturing bonds.
Recurrent Expenditure got N2.99 trillion, Capital Expenditure, N2.18 trillion and provision of N2.36 trillion was made for Fiscal Deficit, with deficit to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) put at 2.18 per cent.
Highlight of the budget showed that Ministry of Power, Works and Housing received the highest fund of N586.54 billion, Ministry of Transport, N256.52 billion; Ministry of Education, N455.41 billion and Ministry of Health, N308.46 billion.