By Kingsley Alu, Mark Itsibor, ABAH ADAH and Tunde Oguntola, Abuja –
The federal government will this week release another N750 billion capital vote from the 2017 budget to ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) for execution of capital projects in the country.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who disclosed this yesterday, said the sum of N450 had been released for capital expenditures within the last five months of passage of the budget.
“Last year, we released about N1.3 trillion of capital. So far this year, we have released N450 billion. But this week we will release another N750 billion. That will take us again to about N1.2 trillion by the end of the year”, the minister said while addressing a business delegation from France in her office in Abuja.
Adeosun told the delegation led by Philip Labonne that, while Nigeria is on the part to recovery, “it’s a new type of economy we are trying to build”.
Earlier, Mr. Labonne who congratulated the federal government for the recovery plan it is carrying out inquired of the minister on the nation’s economic strength, areas of growth, and stability of the naira.
Responding to his request, Adeosun said, “ We see growth in a number of sectors. We see growth in health, simply due to the sheer size of our population. We see growth in services, banking. We see opportunities in manufacturing and in power. In fact, there is fully no sector of the Nigerian economy that doesn’t have growth”.
She told the delegation that the federal government is trying to provide the enabling infrastructure to turn the potentials of opportunities in the country into reality.
“Based on macro fundamentals, the naira is fairly priced and we think there will be stability in the naira pricing, which of course allows you to plan”, the finance minister told the delegation from the various sectors.
Labonne also expressed delight over the stability of the naira, which he said brings more expectations and benefits around business table.
The investors have portfolios from various sectors, including oil and gas, energy, logistics, health, banks, services and Agriculture. Apart from the federal government, the business delegation is also billed to meet with different private sector operators in Lagos.
…To Issue New Import Quota For Sugar Refineries
Meanwhile, the federal government may release the new sugar import quota for sugar refineries in the country involved in the Backward Integration Programme (BIP) in the sugar sub-sector by January next year.
The National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) said this followed the conclusion of the review of the BIP implementation by its monitoring groups for the sugar refineries.
Executive secretary of the Council, Dr. Latif Busari, disclosed this at the weekend during the review of the council’s activities in 2017 and projections for 2018.
He however said that the Council would have to wait for the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari by January.
Busari noted that the 2018 sugar projections for the country was revised downwards by the council to 1.58 million metric tons from the 1.6 million metric tons initially projected in the Sugar Master Plan because of the attack on Savannah Sugar Plantation in Numan, Adamawa State.
The Council also said the metric tons would be distributed among the operators based on individual performance.
Busari said, “The attack on Numan happened on December 4, 2017, with the herdsmen destroying all the work that has been done in the three plantations. It is a very serious issue.
“There will be serious challenge in production if the Savannah issue is not resolved on time. About three fields in the savannah are already burnt”.
He further disclosed that other investors were coming on stream to help boost sugar production in the country.
“We have other investors coming in; two in Jigawa State and some in Edo. We also have some small sugar mills that are coming up. We call them mini plants and we have one currently in Oyo State and another in Sokoto State”, he said.
Busari said the Council is collaborating with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Customs and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in its efforts to check smuggling of sugar into the country.