By Nuel Suji – The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal, on Wednesday, reiterated his earlier position that the revenue accruable to the country was not enough to fund the constituency projects contained in the 2016 budget.
Mr. Lawal who appeared before the Senate Joint Committees on Ethics, Appropriations, and Finance told the senators that he was expressing his personal opinion over the issue lamented that the estimated revenue profile of the country for this year had already dropped by 50 percent.
He also said some of the constituency projects like construction of a mini stadium will not have direct impact on the people hence the executive have zonal projects designed to make meaningful impacts on the citizenry.
The SGF who was in the senate to defend his comments in an interview he granted to one of the national dailies that the federal government may not implement constituency projects in the 2016 budget.
He blamed the drop in revenue on activities of militants in the Niger Delta region.
He said the oil benchmark of the Federal Government has been drastically dislocated and grossly affected by activities of militants, lamenting that at a time the country was producing about 800,000 barrels per day.
Asked whether he declared that Constituency Projects would not be implemented Lawal said, “The statement is correct. That is my statement; 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.
“Government based its principle on zero budgeting this year. Funds will be released to finance key projects in line with the implementation plans of the government. I will explain why it will be hard for the government to implement the budget.”