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2016 Budget Buhari should receive corrected details on Thursday - Minister

The legislature would transmit the document to the president either later on Wednesday or on Thursday, May 5, the minister of state for budget says.

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The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is still expecting the corrected version of the 2016 budget details from the National Assembly.

The minister made this known on Wednesday, May 4, while briefing State House reporters on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

According to her, the legislature would transmit the document to the president either later on Wednesday or on Thursday, May 5.

"And it (the budget) is at its final stage. So, maybe between today and tomorrow, the ‎National Assembly will start the process of transmitting the details to the president," Ahmed said, adding that the executive and the legislature have worked very hard to review the details of the budget.

Ahmed also disclosed that the Federal Executive Council discussed the strategic implementation plan for the yet-to-be signed budget.

She said 34 strategic priority programmes and projects were presented at the meeting, with clear deliverables, targets and indicators to ensure that Ministries, Departments and Agencies deliver on implementation.

She said: "There is policy, governance and security and one item from there is to achieve and maintain a capital spend minimum of 30 percent in an annual basis starting from 2016. The objective of doing that is to reflect the economy and enhance employment generation capacity for the productive sector. Another area is to achieve an appropriate exchange regime. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is leading this particular action. The objective is to achieve a predictable exchange rate by the end of 2016.

"There is also a target for us to increase low interest lending to the real sector; the focus is to achieve an interest rate that is single digit maybe nine percent and the purpose is to increase output and growth. Again, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, along with CBN, are taking action on this. We also have a target to maintain a stable debt management strategy so that we can ‎optimise the local and foreign debts that we have; and the Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office will be taking action on this.

"On the thematic ‎area of diversifying the economy, we plan to implement measures to achieve self-sufficiency and become a net export of certain number of agricultural produce the first one being rice. We plan to attain self-sufficiency in rice production by 2018, in tomato paste 2016 and also increase local production of maize, soya beans, poultry and livestock. The deadline for these will be announced later in the year. The Ministry of Agriculture is still trying to work out details. It means we will stop importing and we will get to a point when we will start exporting.

"We also have plans to expand the agro- allied sector to intensify local production of cassava, cocoa, cashew nuts, fruits and sesemi seeds and the Agriculture Ministry is also leading in that area. There is also plan to make use of 5,000 hectares arable land ‎in 12 River Basin Development Authorities and to utilise 22 dams  for commercial farming by prospective investors and the objective is to extend farming so that it can become and all year round activity and that there is productivity all year round.

"There is a plan to implement a road map  to increase pri‎vate sector investment in tourism, sports and the objective is to increase investment in the service sector thereby increase job creation and youth employment.

"The power, rails and road ‎is also a very important priority area. There is a number of specific activities; but one of them is to optimise up to 7,000 megawatts installed capacity and to ensure the associated infrastructure to ensure we transmit and distribute this capacity in the maximum operational level that is obtainable and also to conclude the privatisation NIPP plants and improve management and performance of TSA. The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is leading in this regard. The target deliverables is to increase the availability of power thereby enhancing investment,  productivity and employment and business growth in our country."

READ: Buhari, NASS disagree over 2016 Budget again

The minister said there was also the priority objective of resolving all issues on ‎gas pricing, as the government plans to conclude the road map development in order to increase investment and gas supply to the oil industry.

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