The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Barrister Babatunde Fashola, has the highest budget in the 2016 budgets, with a total sum of recurrent and capital budgets of N467 billion. This underscores the government’s determination to execute capital projects in this fiscal year. Also, the security sector is given attention.
This is seen in the budgets for the Ministry of Defence (N428,098,182,742), the Police Formation (N300,100,330,698), Ministry of Interior (N198,352,766,543) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (N90,350,068,052).
The allocations to the security sector show that this government, like the previous regime, has put national security on the front burner. It is expected that the Police formations across the country would be better trained to maintain security, and most importantly, improve on its intelligence network to ensure that the Boko Haram menace is brought under control.
With the substantial allocation to the Ministry of Interior, Nigerians would expect a measure of improvement in the services to be rendered by the Nigerian Prison Service, Nigeria Civic Defense Corps, Nigeria Fire Service, and Nigerian Immigration Service. The other ministry with a high budgetary allocation is Education where some N407.6 billion will be pumped into projects. Also, the health sector has been allocated some N258 billion, while the transportation sector will gulp the sum of N202 billion.
A good percentage of this amount will enter into the railway project, a major priority of the Buhari administration. There is also the sum of N200 billion allocated to Special Intervention projects.
Significantly, a huge part of this year’s budget (N1.36 trillion) is allocated to the servicing of foreign and domestic debts. Government’s decision to settle these debts may see to the completion of projects that have been abandoned due to non-payment of contract sums. Also significant in the budget is the N113 billion voted as Sinking fund towards the retirement of maturing loans.As it were, the budget is now law, but previous experiences have taught Nigerians to have measured expectations from government.
However, the Minister of National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has promised 100 per cent implementation of this budget. This is how he puts it: “Our aim will always be one hundred percent implementation. We know that because we started late, we may not achieve it, but that is our aim. We will start off with that aim because the budget is a law. So, we will try and implement it as faithfully as we can.
However, the reality is that we may not (achieve full implementation) because we started late. So, to cure that, subsequent years, we’ll start earlier to give us a better chance of implementing the budget in full. But we will do our best.”