The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, has said that the federal government may not fully implement the 2016 budget due to a sharp drop in revenue by over 60%.
He stated this when he appeared before a joint senate committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions and that of Appropriation and Finance.
Lawal was summoned by the lawmakers to defend his comments in an interview that the 2016 constituency projects as captured in the budget would not be implemented.
He blamed the drop in revenue on the activities of militants in the Niger Delta region, saying that the oil benchmark of the federal government has been drastically affected as the country was only producing about 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Lawal said, “The statement is correct. That is my statement (referring to the interview). We cannot guarantee the implementation of constituency projects in the 2016 budget. As a government, constituency projects are championed by members of the National Assembly. Like the legislature, members of the executive are politicians who canvassed for votes.
“Lawmakers are aware that oil barrels had dwindled to about 800,000 per day. This has led to the inability of government to finance the budget. It is the duty of government to prepare the minds of Nigerians ahead that there will be challenges in implementing the budget,” he said.
The SGF reminded the lawmakers that government based its principle on zero budgeting this year, and funds will be released to finance key projects in line with the implementation plans of the government.
He said the country was now earning about 50 percent or 60 percent of what was projected in the budget, adding that some ministries, department and agencies, MDAs, might find it impossible to implement projects appropriated in their budgets.
“We have to re-prioritize. I like us to understand that this is the background upon which I made that statement,” Lawal said.