By Akanimo Sampson
With a fiscal deficit of N889.61 billion in the operations of the Federal Government under the All Progressives Congress (APC) between last January and September, Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) laid the foundation for the economic mess in the country.
Interestingly, Amaechi was a key player in the PDP that made him a Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly for eight years and Governor of the same state for six years before defecting to the APC.
Though the deficit figure came from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Amaechi, has been busy telling Nigerians complaining about hunger in the land that he himself is hungry and that the opposition PDP caused the hunger by allegedly stealing money from the country’s purse while in power.
Amaechi who said this at the APC presidential campaign rally in Bauchi at the weekend, urged Nigerians to demand that the PDP return the nation’s stolen money. ‘’I was speaking to my friend from the other divide and he said you are hungry, I said ‘yes, if they did not steal the money they stole, you would have had enough food.’ The money they stole is what is making me hungry. Tell them, to bring the money.
‘’The PDP stole $2.00 billion to prosecute 2015 elections but we still defeated them. They are broke, they are hungry and they want to come back to steal. The PDP members know that they are broke and because of that, they are looking for cheap source of funds. When they say there is no food, they want to steal money and they cannot do that because the President has said that public money is not for any individual.’’
Amaechi wondered what the PDP did with the money it got for 16 years when oil was $114 per barrel, claiming that when the PDP was in power, he could not sleep with his two eyes closed even in the Rivers State Government House allegedly because of security challenges.
The 2018 budget which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari had a total spending of N9.1 trillion made up of N2.87 trillion for capital expenditure, N3.51 trillion for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure while N2.01trillion was projected to be spent on debt servicing.
The N9.1trillion budget was expected to be financed from N2.99 trillion to be generated from oil revenue, N31.25billion from Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas dividend while N1.17 billion was expected to be realised through revenue from minerals and mining.
To fund the budget, the Federal Government had planned to generate N658.55 billion from Companies Income Tax, N207.51billion from Value Added Tax, N324.86 billion from Customs while N57.87 billion was expected to come from federation account levies.
Government was expected to raise N847.95 billion through independent revenue from their agencies, while tax amnesty income, signature bonus and unspent balance from previous years was to provide N87.84 billion, N114.3 billion and N250 billion respectively
The economic report of the CBN however, showed that in the first quarter of 2018, the government recorded about N902.64 billion in revenue while its expenditure was put at N1.59 trillion. This resulted into a deficit of N697.1 billion for that quarter.
In the second quarter, the revenue of the government was put at N896.74 billin with expenditure of N988.91billion, resulting into a deficit of N92.17 billion, and for the third quarter, the report stated that the government recorded revenue of N950.61billion while it incurred total expenditure of N1.05trillion.
Based on the inability of government’s revenue to meet up with their expenditure, the fiscal deficit was put at N100.33billion.
‘’The Federal Government retained revenue for the third quarter of 2018 was estimated at N950.61billion. This was below the proportionate quarterly budget estimate by 49.7 per cent, but exceeded receipts in the review quarter by six per cent. Of the total revenue, Federation Account accounted for 86.7 per cent, while Federal Government Independent Revenue, VAT,
Exchange Gain, NNPC Refund and Excess Non-oil accounted for 4.8, 4.2, 3.2, 0.6 and 0.5 per cent, respectively.
‘’The estimated Federal Government expenditure for the third quarter of 2018 stood at N1.05 trillion and was below the proportionate quarterly budget estimate of N2.37 trillion by 55.8 per cent. It was, however, above the level in the preceding quarter by 6.3 per cent.
‘’A breakdown of the total expenditure showed that the recurrent component accounted for 82.4 per cent, while capital and statutory transfers accounted for 12.5 and 5.1 per cent, respectively. A further breakdown of the recurrent expenditure showed that the non-debt component accounted for 40.9 per cent, while debt service payment was 59.1 per cent’’, the CBN report said.