Tuesday, March 22, 2016 10:42 pm
Nigeria’s Federal government will inject N350 billion to stimulate the economy in the next few months as soon as the 2016 appropriation bill is signed into law.
Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun made the disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja at a media briefing at the end of the two-day National Economic Council retreat.
“In anticipation of the approval of the budget, we have lined up N350 billion which we would be pumping into the Nigerian economy in the forth-coming months,’’ she said.
She said that the ministry was already discussing with some of the contractors who would be paid the money.
“We are specifically looking at contractors who have laid-off staff and how many Nigerians are they going to put back to work as a result of this money that we are planning to release.
“We believe that this will stimulate significant economic activities,’’ she added.
The minister said that the retreat discussed funding of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the need to get legislative approval to reduce counterpart funding paid by state governments.
She explained that counterpart funding was exacerbating the indebtedness of state governments.
She said that the federal government planned to reduce that requirement temporarily from 50 per cent to 10 per cent.
Accordingly Adeosun said the gesture will enable the states access an estimated N58 billion that they could not access before due to the burden of counterpart funding
The minister said that participants at the retreat were hopeful that the money would allow state governments rehabilitate 1,000 classrooms in the 36 states thereby creating jobs and boosting economic activities.
Adeosun said that the retreat deliberated extensively on drop in revenue particularly as it affected state governments and their ability to pay salaries.
She said that the retreat also looked at the possibility of state governments setting up efficiency unit to rationalise expenditure and increase internally generated revenue.
The minister said that Federal and state Inland Revenue Services would collaborate to carry out joint audit and boost revenue collection.
“There is a need to develop incentives for both federal and state revenue generating agencies to ensure that there is an alignment of interest.’’
She said that state governors were encouraged to rationalise the numbers of their commissioners and political appointees to reduce cost of governance.