Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, has disclosed that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has accumulated from N2.2 trillion to N2.9 trillion just as the Central Bank disclosed that $20 billion is lying idle in domiciliary accounts in the country.
These were revealed when the National Assembly Joint Committees on Appropriation had an interactive session with top government officials in Abuja on Thursday.
“The total volume of the TSA is now N2.9 trillion, but as the money comes, we cannot just mop it up to finance the 2016 budget. Some of the money coming from the NNPC and others into the account for example, may be used to fund some of its projects,” she said.
According to Adeosun, the oil price decline is a blessing in disguise, as it will spur creativity in governance and allow government to focus on harnessing resources from non-oil sectors.
On his part, Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning, revealed that the executive’s intention was to allow private sector funding for the mineral and agricultural sectors justifying the budget proposal for Solid Minerals Ministry at N9 billion, and the Agriculture Ministry at N43 billion.
“Government intends to provide enabling environment for the Agriculture and Mineral sectors to thrive. Solid minerals need brain work, not billions of naira, and so for the Agricultural sector, so government wants the private sector to drive these areas,” he said.
“The government wants to make arrangements with airlines to cut the cost of flights for public officials,” but however admitted that “this is the most difficult budget that we have had to deal with for a long time” and acknowledged the prerogative of the National Assembly in deciding how the final budget would look like.”
Joseph Nnana, Deputy Governor, Financial System and Surveillance, CBN, who represented CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, declared that naira speculators will have their fingers burnt when the 2016 budget is passed because the CBN will embark on aggressive liquidity mop-up to enable naira regain confidence.
“Naira problem is our own making, some individuals are speculating on the dollars to the detriment of the naira. Why should we have individuals that have $20 billion in different domiciliary account idle? Volatility in exchange will not continue after the passage of 2016 budget, those who speculate on naira will have their fingers burnt by that time because we are going to embark on aggressive liquidity mop-up to make the naira stronger.”
Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje said the implementation of N500billion social intervention fund contained in 2016 budget proposal may not be feasible since there were no clear implementation strategies.
He therefore suggested that the money be added to the budgetary allocation for sectors like power, transport and health while those responsible would map out better strategy for the project in the 2017 budget.
“We are all happy with the programme and I am a party man but what needs to be done needs to be done very well. I think there is a need to do a greater work on implementation otherwise this money will go down the drain,” he said.
“We support this programme we want Mr President to succeed, we want our party to succeed, we want to continue to win this election but we want the programme to be successful.
“So, Mr. Minister, we want you to come up with workable implementation strategy otherwise there are so many things that require attention in this country.
“We would rather use this money to solve our problem, use this year to do very sound ground work for implementation so that the programme can take off next year”.
Responding, Udoma said the special intervention programme was a political commitment, which the present administration would not hesitate to fulfill and promised to meet with relevant stakeholders to discuss on better strategies for implementation.