From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, yesterday disclosed that the Federal Government has released a total of N109 billion out of the N350 billion earmarked to reflate the economy.
Speaking in a Channels Television programme, ‘Sunrise’, the Minister said that the remaining funds are ready but facing procedural delays arising from the required public procurement processes.
She noted that the selection process allows for many new capable companies to participate in the process to get involved in Federal Government projects.
The Minister also reaffirmed the need to reform the Youth With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWIN) programme to suit the Nigeria of today.
“Currently, government gives winners N10 million as a grant. That is a lot of money that will not come back to government, so we need to make sure that these funds create sustainable enterprises that create jobs. We also need to look at whether the figure should be N10 million to one winner or N1 million each to 10 winners,” she said.
However, on the N1.3 billion YouWIN disbursements recently carried out by the Federal Government, Adeosun confirmed that all commitments under the programme will be fully met, but proper due diligence will be carried out on all winners, using tools like BVN and other biometric requirements prior to disbursements. Fielding questions on the diversification of the economy, she said that the programme will expand when every state starts to increase its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“This will create local jobs and expand wealth within the states. Kebbi State, for example, has taken the initiative to increase its production of rice. It has gone as far as coining its IGR as ‘I Grow Rice’. Basically, Kebbi State is undertaking large scale rice growing with the aim of producing one million out of the six million tonnes of rice Nigeria consumes annually. Ultimately, when we collectively expand IGR, we generate more jobs and create more wealth. Other states have different resources that can be developed to generate IGR within the state,” she said.
Fiscal discipline is a destination, she explained, adding that as a government, there is an effort to continue to improve discipline on an ongoing basis.
“FG has commenced similar reforms at the federal level, with success. Ghost workers, which we prefer to call payroll clean-up has been very successful and the continuous audit unit at the Federal Government level will continue to monitor and improve our efforts there. We have saved N6.6 billion on a monthly basis. This is all about good housekeeping. The Efficiency Units have already had success with travel, food, sitting allowance and they will now look at adverts. We are all aware of the efforts on plugging leakages and recoveries.”