By Racheal Ishaya
Despite pressure on government to improve spending on capital projects to bridge the infrastructure deficit, the federal government has said that payment of salaries and pension remains a priority.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Udoma Udo Udoma, made this known on Monday in Abuja at the public presentation of the 2017 Appropriation Act.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2017 budget of N7.44 trillion has as components, N2.99 trillion for recurrent expenditure, N2.36 trillion capital expenditure and N1.66 trillion for debt servicing.
Statistics given by the minister showed that N1.88 trillion, which was 63 per cent of the recurrent expenditure component of the budget, would be spent on personnel cost and N281.1 billion, representing 9.4 per cent, would be spent on pension.
This shows that a total of N2.16 trillion would be spent on salaries and pension alone.
Other aspect of the recurrent expenditure framework includes overheads of N219.84 billion and N138.7 billion for Service-wide Votes.
Also, the government plans to spend N76.7 billion on Presidential Amnesty Programme, while the running cost of the special intervention programme is expected to gulp N350 billion.
Udoma also said that the Federal Government plans to spend N40 billion as refund to special accounts.
“We have to manage our recurrent expenditure and at the same time, we cannot afford to have any retrenchment.
“Consequently, we must meet our personnel expenses. We have to make sure we provide adequately for salaries and pensions.
“For other items of expenditure such as overheads, we will only meet those components that are vital and others will be managed down because it is very important that we find the resources to meet our capital expenditure,’’ he said.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had earlier said that N210 billion was needed monthly to finance Federal Government Personnel Cost.
She said explained that at the moment, government barely made enough to meet its monthly obligation such as Personnel Cost, Service Debt and finance necessary capital projects.
Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for May, shared N418.9 billion between the federal, states and local government areas from the federation account.
The Federal Government’s share from that amount was N163.9 billion. (NAN)