MINISTER of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said in Abuja on Thursday that neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor other officials of the Federal Government has security vote allocated to their offices.

Speaking at the 2018 budget breakdown briefing in Abuja, Udoma also disclosed that government would borrow N1.95 trillion of the N9.12 trillion budget.

In addition, the minister said federal government expect to fund the budget through a revenue projection of N7.1 trillion plus the N1.95 trillion to be borrowed from both domestic and foreign sources.

Answering a question on Transparency International’s allegation that Buhari was setting aside funds for his 2019 election campaign through his security vote said there was no truth in the report.

The AI’s report is titled “Camouflaged Cash: How ‘Security Votes’ Fuel Corruption in Nigeria, and ”indicated, in part, that the Presidency is not only appropriating but “has increased the number of security votes tucked into the Federal Budget in the last two years.”

Udoma said that there was no line item as Security vote in the State House Budget. Provisions for security-related matters are contained in the detailed Budgets of the Ministry of Defence, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Department of State Security (DSS) etc.

There are also provisions he noted for military interventions in the North East (insurgency) -Operation Lafiya Dole, as well as other specific operations of the Armed forces such as Operation Python Dance, Operation Crocodile Smile and very recently, the Operation Cat Race, etc.

And owing to the growing number of internal security issues, a provision of N75 billion was made for these exercises in the Service-wide votes, not State House vote, in 2018.

According to Udoma, 2018 revenue projections reflect new funding mechanism for JV operations, allowing for cost recovery in lieu of previous cash call arrangement; additional oil-related revenue including royalty recovery, new/marginal field licences, early licensing renewals; review of the fiscal regime for oil production sharing contracts (PSCs).

The government will also be restructuring its equity in JV oil assets, with proceeds to be reinvested in other assets.

“This will improve efficiencies in the operations of the JVs and position them for better revenue performance in the future.

Also to meet revenue projections is the plan to increase in excise duty rates on alcohol and tobacco.

“Tax administration improvement initiatives to positively affect collection efficiencies across various tax categories, e.g., tax amnesty programme.”
Some other highlights of the budget include:

“N2.01 trillion for debt service or 21% of planned spending (about same as in FY2017).

“Provision to retire maturing bond to local contractors increased by 7% from N177 billion in FY2017 to N190 billion in view of the ambitious plan to liquidate all contractor arrears of the FGN going back to several years.

“Recurrent (non-debt) spending expected to rise by 17%, from N2.99 trillion in FY2017 to N3.51 trillion. ▪Capital expenditure (excluding transfers) higher by 22% from N2.36 trillion in FY2017 to N2.87 trillion. ▪Capital spending is 31.5% of total FGN expenditure.

Credit: Nigerian Tribune