By Dipo Olowookere
Several times, Nigerians have asked why has the government not used the funds recovered from looters, running into trillions of Naira to finance the budget instead of borrowing from international bodies, subjecting the country to more debts, but the government had always said things were not as easy as many thought they were.
But the Federal Government has now said about N560 billion it recovered from looters would be used to finance part of the 2017 budget.
This information was revealed by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udo Udoma, during the breakdown of the 2017 appropriation bill yesterday in Abuja.
According to Mr Udoma, the total revenue projected was N5.08 trillion, with 11 percent, which is around N560 billion, coming from the loots recovered by the government since 2015, when the present administration began the recoveries.
When President Muhammadu Buhari came into power on May 29, 2015, his first major target was to block leakages in government and also recover funds stolen by public officials in the last administration.
His anti-corruption war led to the recovery of monies siphoned by government officials and the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has also helped to save enough money for the government, which hitherto was embezzled by officials.
Speaking on Monday at the presentation, the Minister said the about N560 billion recovered funds were free of legal tussle.
“On recoveries, we are being extremely conservative; what is in the budget is what we know about already. So, if more comes, we will use it.
“Know that recoveries of looted funds are not the most dependable way to finance the budget because of the legal processes that have to be concluded before it can be spent.
“So, the money quoted in the budget is the one we have already recovered and in our pocket to spend as we wish,” Mr Udoma explained.
The Minister also said yesterday that the total revenue projected exceeded the 2016 projection by 30.26 percent, adding that oil revenue projection was put at 41.7 percent compared to 19 percent in 2016.
According to him, the high revenue expectation from oil was driven by Joint Venture Calls (JVC) cost reduction, higher production and price, exchange rate as well as additional oil-related revenues.
Additional information from NAN
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