Budget 2021: FG earmarks N152bn for electricity

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…East-West Road gets N15bn
…Information Ministry to spend N1.3bn on travels, refreshment, others

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief & Emmanuel Elebeke

The Federal Government is to pay power generation companies through Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET, the sum of N152.416 billion in 2021.

According to details of the 2021 budget now before National Assembly, this forms one of the largest expenditure items of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

This is despite public outcry over the recent electricity tariff hike, especially given the fact that the firms to receive the funds are not generating any electricity, whatsoever.

This is even as the Ministry of Information and Culture plans to spend N249.114 million on travels and another N285.964 million on miscellaneous expenses.

On electricity, the Federal Government reportedly spent over N240 billion in the last five years, paying some power plants for electricity they neither generated nor put into the grid for the use of consumers.

The monthly payments are based on the “take or pay” clause in the Power Purchase Agreement between the Federal Government and the affected power generation companies on the understanding that since electricity cannot be stored, whatever was generated must be utilised and paid for.

However, five of such power plants have not been operating on the excuse of lack of gas to the plants and, therefore, generating nothing but are being paid on a regular basis.

READ ALSO: Hunger Strike: Why we have not paid FG contractors ― Ministry of Finance
Government officials, who had protested this arrangement, have in the past been booted out of office as very powerful people, including those at the corridors of power, are said to have always mounted pressure on officials of the Ministry of Finance to promptly pay the power companies.

The Ministry of Finance is to spend N2.246 billion on computer software acquisition.

According to the budget, the implementation of Project Lighthouse inter-agencies integration and expansion of interfaces (phase 3) to other platforms to provide a system-wide view of data relevant to support management of fiscal policy implementation, would take N 750 million.

Special inter-agencies roll-out of automation of workflow process (linking all agencies under the ministry with the core ministry and implementation of lean six sigma) which is an on-going capital project was earmarked N410.000 million.

Other major allocations in the ministry included Open Government Partnership activities (ongoing) N300 million; and the establishment of Debt Recovery Unit, N 180 million.

Under the Service-wide vote, N16.703 billion was provisioned for the refund of the acquisition of Yola Electricity Distribution Company; N20 billion for the payment of pensions of defunct privatized agencies; refund of borrowed funds from the Education Tax Pool Account, TETFUND, N12.899 billion; and N25 billion for the newly established Nigerian Youth Development Fund.

N/Delta to spend N26b on roads, others

Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs with a total allocation of N26.592 billion, is expected to undertake the dualisation of East-West road (Sections I – IV) with a budget ofN15 billion. The project is on-going.

Other major projects to be funded by the ministry included the construction of skills acquisition centre at Abaezi-Egbema, Ohaji/ Egbema LGA, in Imo State, (on-going) at N250 million; another N200 million was budgeted for another multi-skill vocational development centre, but the location was not specified; construction of skills acquisition centre at Iwuchang, Ibeno LGA, Akwa-Ibom State, N180 million; and consultancy services/residency supervision for the construction of skill acquisition centre in the nine states of the Niger Delta region (ongoing) N148 million.

N100 million was provided for each of the following on-going projects: supply and installation of integrated solar street lights with specification 60w (high efficiency monocrystalline panel) specification jrb solar Europe standard in Akpabuyo LGA of Cross River State (ongoing); council / programmes on Niger Delta with stakeholders for the coordination , evaluation and review of the Niger Delta Action Plan (ongoing); construction of Orodo-Ogwa road phase I and II with bridge in Mbaitoli LGA, Imo State (ongoing); and design and construction of 1.5km Samuel Johnson Crescent, road, Mbierebe Akpawat, Ibesikpo Asutan LGA, Akwa Ibom State (ongoing).

Others were:design and construction of 10 km Amaihe community school Uyim road in Elu, Ohafia, Abia State; design and construction of 3km Mbak-Ikot Ekwere road, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom State; design and construction of 1.5km Iko Ima road, Etebi Esit Eket LGA, Akwa-Ibom State; rehabilitation of the failed portion of Abak-Ikot Abasi road at Usop and Ikot Ebak.

Information Ministry to spend N1.3bn on travels, refreshment, others

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information and Culture will spend N249.114 million on travels and another N285.964 million on miscellaneous expenses, according to the details of the 2021 federal government budget presented to the National Assembly by President Mohammadu Buhari on Thursday.

The amount is to be spent out of N8.206 billion budgeted for the operation of the Ministry.

While the sum of N4.901 billion was budgeted for recurrent expenditure, the sum of N3.304 billion was allocated for capital expenditure for the ministry’s headquarters in the fiscal year.

Of the N249 million earmarked for travel and transport, N44.623million was budgeted for local travels, while the sum of N140.919 million was allocated for international travels for the minister.

Under Miscellaneous, a total N285.964 million was allocated for the ministry’s headquarters for 2021 of which N27.995 million would be spent on refreshment and N150 million on publicity and advertisements, while N66 million would be spent on welfare packages.

The ministry was also allocated N8.898 million for honourarium and another N162.626 million for office vehicles in the year under review.

Under maintenance service, N93.964 million was earmarked, of which N39.986 million was allocated for maintenance of office building and another N20.471 million proposed for maintenance of office and IT equipment, while another N405 million was allocated for rehabilitation of office building under the capital allocation.

For utilities, N39.209 million was earmarked for electricity charges, whereas office stationery received N49.928 million for the year.

For materials and supplies, the ministry got N66.558 million allocation and N6.191 million for fueling and lubricants, while medicals received N8.320 million.

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