‘FG spent N2trillion on debt servicing in 6 months’ – Zainab Ahmed

The Federal Government has revealed that it spent N2.02 trillion on debt servicing within the first six months of 2021.

This was stated yesterday in Abuja, by the minister of finance, budget and planning, Zainab Ahmed during the 2022- 2024 2022-2024 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework/ Fiscal strategy paper (MTEF/FSP) Committee interactive session.

Ahmed said the Federal Government’s retained revenue amounted to 67.3 percent of the target.

Recall that last year, out of total revenue of N3.42 trillion, the federal government spent N3.34 trillion on debt servicing – implying that for every N100 earned as revenue, N97 was spent on debt servicing.

Given the breakdown, the minister said oil revenue was N492.44 billion, representing 49 percent performance, while the non-oil revenue totalled N778.18 trillion at 104.5 percent performance.

According to her, companies income tax(CIT) and value-added tax (VAT) collections are ahead of the budget targets with N397.02 billion and N129 billion. This, she added, represents 116.5% and 108.2% targets for the period.

The minister further said that Customs collection was N234.02 billion at 92.1 percent of target, adding that other revenues amounted to N922.09 billion, out of which Independent Revenue was N558.13 billion.

On the expenditure performance, Ahmed said N5.81 trillion, representing 92.4% of the budget had been spent, adding that this excludes GOEs and project-tied debt expenditure.

“Of the expenditure, N2.02 trillion was for debt servicing, which is 35% of the Federal Government expenditures and N1.795 trillion for personnel cost”, Zainab stated.

She noted that as of June, N1.3 trillion, which represented 84.7 percent, had been released for capital expenditure.

The finance minister further said that the country faced serious economic challenges in 2020, with the microe-conomic environment significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, adding  that the economy sustained a tepid recovery in the first quarter of 2021.

Speaking at the session, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the National Assembly would begin consideration of the 2022 Appropriation Bill once it receives it.

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