*N1.6trn released for capital projects
*Power, Defence got lion share – Adeosun
By Chika Otuchikere
The Federal Government said gave details of its execution of the 2017 budget and the sectors that fared better during the period under review.
In the conclusion of the government, the releases, especially for capital projects were higher than the figures for 2016.
Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who spoke on Tuesday in Abuja on the implementation of the budget, explained that the sum of N1.580 trillion was released to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) last year.
Adeosun said that the amount was higher than the 2016 capital release of N1.219 trillion
According to her, in the 2017 capital releases, Power, Works and Housing ministry received the highest allocation of N523.011 billion which was 33.10 per cent of the total capital releases.
She said that the same ministry equally received the highest releases in the 2016 capital budget, which was N307.411 billion (25.21 per cent) of the 2016 capital budget.
The minister added that defence and security received the second highest capital releases of N197.596 billion (12.50 per cent) in 2017 as against N77.532 billion (6.36 per cent) total releases the sector received in 2016.
Another priority sector, Agriculture and Water Resources received a total of N149.485 billion (9.46 per cent) in 2017. The sector had received N143.121 billion (11.74 per cent) of the capital releases in 2016.
Transportation however recorded a drop as it received N126.253 billion (7.99 per cent) of the 2017 capital releases as against N171.9 billion (14.10 per cent) in 2016.
Health and Education shared N98.190 billion (6.21 per cent) for 2017 as against N56.270 billion (4.61 per cent) the sectors got in 2016.
Other sectors combined received a total of N485.734 billion, which represented 30.74 per cent of the 2017 capital releases. In 2016, a total of N463.234 billion (37.99 per cent) was disbursed to these sectors.
Adeosun said that despite the economic challenges in 2017, the Federal Government was able to fully cash-back the capital releases.
She added that the sustained high allocations to key sectors reflected the government’s commitment to infrastructural development in the country.
The minister said the government was working assiduously to attract private capital to complement its spending in the key areas.
Meanwhile, President Muhamadu Buhari will today in Abuja sign the 2018 budget bill into law. The event slated for 11am will hold in the Presidential Villa.
Ahead of the ceremony, the Presidency on Monday cancelled the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.