The capital budget release for 2017 so far is N1.248 trillion, the Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun has said.
She made the disclosure on Wednesday when speaking after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja.
While giving an update on the level of capital releases from 2017 till date, she said, “l gave details of the big four areas and then others. So, Power, Works and Housing got N301.89 billion, Defence 151.2 billion, Agriculture N119.9 billion, Transport N127.9 billion and other areas combined is N547.6 billion.
“So the total capital budget release for 2017 so far is N1.248,310 trillion. We haven’t closed yet. We are confident we will close the year roughly around where we closed last year.
“We will close around N1.3 trillion mark. So, our commitment to infrastructure spending remains very strong.”
She also said that the FEC approved a three-year debt strategy to reduce Nigeria’s reliance on short time borrowing in relation to the treasury bills.
“FEC approved a three-year debt strategy to reduce our reliance on short time borrowing particularly treasury bills, 91 days treasury bills, costing us 21 per cent and moving from domestic borrowing into external borrowing.
“When we came in, what were owing was 84 per cent domestic and 16 per cent external borrowing. We have moved to 77:23 as a result of Eurobonds that we have done and refinancing of maturing obligations.
“Our terms of maturity was 7.15. We have now extended it to 11.25. That gives a little bit of room to allow the investment we have made in capital projects to filter into our tax system and allows us to manage the debt. What that means is reducing our cost of funds and reducing our interest cost because the cost of borrowing is much more less and in a planned manner and our average borrowing has reduced from 18 per cent to about 14 per cent.
“We are confident that as interest rates begin to ease, we will reduce our cost of borrowing even further,” Mrs Adeosun said.
On whistleblowing , the finance minister gave an update on the number of tips recieved, the number of investigations dealt with, as well as the types of monies that have been recovered.
“The ‘whistleblower team’ has recently come back from a trip to the Uk. The United Kingdom government was giving us trainings on whistleblowing, how we should institutionalise it. The team spent sometime with the revenue office in UK. They spent sometime in customs office and they took them through what they have been able to do.
“One of the things it has achieved is prevention. When they get the tips, they use it to block avenues for leakage. We have had a significant number (of) tips. So, we will be coming back to institutionalise whistleblowing as a structure.”