FACT-CHECK: How true is Osinbajo’s claim that Nigerian govt spent N1.7 trillion on capital projects

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday said the federal government has spent N1.7 trillion on capital projects in two budget years.

He made this claim while addressing participants at the 9th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum held at the State House Banquet Hall in Abuja.

The vice president said infrastructure development was crucial in economic growth and job creation.

In his words, “I am convinced that we can crack the jobs problem and we are in the right direction.

“First, by investing in infrastructure; we are investing more in infrastructure today than any previous governments in our history.

“We have spent so far in two budgets, N1.7 trillion in capital investment – that is the largest in the history of the country. Despite earning 60 per cent less, we are doing far more with far less resources,’’ he said.

THE CLAIM

“We have spent so far in two budgets, N1.7 trillion in capital investment – that is the largest in the history of the country despite earning 60 percent less; we are doing far more with far less resources,’’ Mr Osinbajo said.

Verification Of Claim

The vice president said N1.7 trillion was released for capital projects in two budget years.

Since the present administration, under Muhammadu Buhari, was sworn in on May 29, 2015, the first full year budget of this current administration was in 2016. Hence, verifying this claim will be based on the realities of the 2016 and 2017 budget.

According to the Budget Office of the Federation, the 2016 budget, as approved by Mr Buhari has an aggregate expenditure of N6,060,677,358,227 (N6 trillion) out of which N1, 587,598,122,031 was projected as capital expenditure; but the total release for capital projects in 2016, according to the Accountant General, was N1,219,471,747,443 (N1.2 trillion) which translates to the fact that 20 per cent of the total budget size was spent on capital projects.

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In 2017, a total expenditure of N7.44 trillion was passed by the National Assembly. Out of this, N2.99 trillion was earmarked for non-debt recurrent spending, while N2.36 trillion was budgeted for capital expenditure, which represents 31 per cent of the entire budget.

According to official documents from the cash management department of the ministry of finance, out of the N2.36 budgeted for capital expenditure in the 2017 budget, a total of N1.6 trillion was released to Ministries, Departments and Agencies for financing capital projects in the 2017 federal budget.

Going by available data on capital releases for 2016 and 2017, a total of N2.8 trillion was spent on capital projects by the current government for the 2016 and 2017 budget years, a figure which is more than the N1.7 trillion quoted by the vice president.

The claim by the vice president that this government has so far spent N1.7 trillion in two budget years on capital projects is, therefore, TRUE.

previous fact check had also shown that the latter part of Mr Osinbajo’s claim that the capital release “is the largest in the history of the country” is also true if the actual figures (N1.2 trillion in 2016 and N1.6 trillion in 2017) are taken in real value. In no previous year was up to N1 trillion actually released for capital projects in a budget year.

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