There have been suggestions that some line items and projects in the budget are wasteful and unclear, and as such, do not have any developmental impact on the people.
But responding to the allegations, the ministry in a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media to the minister, Mr. Akpandem James, explained that the items in the budget were well conceived and provided for by the respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.
It said allocations such as N10bn for settlement of liabilities to contractors; N22.6bn for research and development; and N308.42bn for procurement of riot control equipment for police formations, among others, that were claimed to be suspicious were genuine provisions that had been explained by the relevant government agencies.
The statement read in part, “It is common knowledge that the Federal Government owes many contractors for certified works dating back as far as 10 years.
“Thus, provisions are made in the annual budgets to offset some of these contractor liabilities. A good portion of these debts is domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and so the ministry made a provision of N10bn in the 2018 budget proposal for settlement of liabilities.
“In the Government Integrated Finance and Management Information System, research and development is a programme description that encapsulates various projects.
“In this case, a check of the budget of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment will show that this includes the N19.3bn for the Export Expansion Grant.”
It added, “For several years, the EEG scheme was suspended on account of its dubious outcomes. However, in its bid to incentivise non-oil exports, the FGN reformed and reinstated the scheme with effect from 2017.
“The budgetary provision for this scheme will therefore be recurrent, year after year. Indeed, as the non-oil sector picks up, the amount of provision is expected to increase.”