The Nigerian government on Friday said it has so far released N285 billion to some Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of government for the implementation of capital projects contained in the nation’s 2020 budget.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, gave the figure while speaking with State House correspondents.
The minister, who was in the company of members of the presidential committee on the impact of COVID 19 on Nigeria’s economy, listed the ministries of education, health, transport, works and housing and the Niger-Delta as beneficiaries.
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically affected the expected funding of the 2020 budget as about 32.4 per cent of the projected revenues is expected to come from crude oil whose price has since plummeted at the global market.
But the minister said government agencies handling critical infrastructure projects are prioritised as beneficiaries in the first tranche of releases.
“As of Tuesday this week, we have released N285 billion to a number of agencies. We prioritised the releases to the critical infrastructure agencies but we also made releases to education as well as health, to the ministries of transport, works, and housing, Niger-Delta and a number of ministries and agencies that have important infrastructure projects have got their funds,” she said.
She also disclosed that $220 million have so far been released as counterpart funding for railway projects in the country.
“Also this week, we have been able to release to the ministry of transport the counterpart funding provided for in our budget that is required for the important railway projects that are currently ongoing, with financing form the China-Exim Bank so there are funds that have been released this week. In addition to the N285 billion, there is up to about $220 million that have been released for railway projects.”