The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has affirmed that the country’s debt will hit N38trillion by December 2021.
She made this assertion during her presentation to the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts on Tuesday, November 3.
She also pointed out that paucity of funds was responsible for the increasing number of abandoned road projects across the country, and that the current Sukuk fund for 45 roads across the six geopolitical zones amounts to N162billion.
“The total public debt stock comprising the external and home debts of the Federal and state governments, including the Federal Capital Territory stood at N31.01trillion ($85.90 billion) as at June 30, 2020. It is projected, based on existing approval, to rise to N32.51 trillion by December 31, 2020 and N38.68 trillion by December 31, 2021,” Ahmed stated.
The Minister avowed, “I am one person that feels that we should just take one major road in one geopolitical zone and finish it.”
“We were not able to do that because of the processes in which appropriation is made both at the executive as well as the legislative arms of government. But truly, if we are able to take one or two projects at a time and complete it before going to the next one, it will be better. What the contractor does is the bit that has been cut out for him to do in that particular area.”
She added, “Once the fund is released and it is finished, we stop again. That is the consequence of these numerous projects that we put in the budget. It is not related to Sukuk-funded projects alone. It cuts across all, as a road construction that may cost N5billion will have a provision of N100million, N200million or N300million. Of course the project will never finish. After two years, the contractor comes back and asks for variation; and the amount keeps growing.”
Furthermore Ahmed affirmed, “I wish we get to a point when we sit down as government and agree on few projects and finish them in 2020, then in 2021, we select the next.”
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
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