The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, has said that despite the pressure to improve investment in infrastructure, payment of salaries and pension remain top priority to governmrnt.
The minister stated this on Monday in Abuja at the public presentation of the 2017 Appropriation Act.
It was reported that the 2017 budget has a total spending estimation of N7.44 trillion, with N2.99 trillion allocated to recurrent expenditure, N2.36 trillion on capital expenditure and N1.66 trillion on debt servicing.
Statistics given by the minister showed that N1.88 trillion, which was 63 percent of the recurrent expenditure component of the budget, would be spent on personnel cost and N281.1 billion, representing 9.4 per cent, would be spent on pension.
This shows that a total of N2.16 trillion would be spent on salaries and pension alone.
Other aspect of the recurrent expenditure framework includes Overheads, N219.84 billion and N138.7 billion, for Service-wide Votes.
Also, the government plans to spend N76.7 billion on Presidential Amnesty Programme, while the running cost of the special intervention programme is expected to gulp N350 billion.
Udoma also said that the Federal Government plans to spend N40 billion as refund to special accounts.
However, he failed to mention names of the accounts and the purpose intended.
We have to manage our recurrent expenditure and at the same time, we cannot afford to have any retrenchment.
Consequently, we must meet our personnel expenses. We have to make sure we provide adequately for salaries and pensions.
For other items of expenditure such as Overheads, we will only meet those components that are vital and others will be managed down because it is very important that we find the resources to meet our capital expenditure.