The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has denied plans to cut the salaries of ministries, departments and agencies.

In a statement issued by her Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Yunusa Tanko-Abdullahi, Mrs Ahmed said the Federal Government was not thinking of cutting wages, rather it is working at salary harmonisation.

“This is against the backdrop that there are some government agencies paying much higher than others for staff on the same grade level.

“What government hopes to achieve is to redistribute wages equally across the board. Let us bring our salary structure within government agencies as close or as equitable and fair.

“What we seek to achieve is to create fairness and equity and to reduce cost.

“With this readjustment, when finally done, workers in the public service will earn fair and equitable wages.

“We still see government expenditure increase to a terrain twice higher than our revenue.”

In another development, at the Senate Committee Hearing in Abuja yesterday, the minister confirmed that the federal government was funding the armed forces as required.

“We have been able to finance 100 per cent of what has been provided in the budget, and there are many instances where service chiefs met the President and got approval for special projects, and we have also funded 100 per cent.

“Perhaps, what we are providing for the armed forces is not enough, but as far as budgeted approved allocation is concerned, we have provided 100 per cent and more.

“This meeting, therefore, affords an opportunity to look into the provision for the armed forces.

“Let us take stock of the needs of the military and see if the supplementary budget might address that issue. So, it is an opportunity we can explore.

Mrs Ahmed also noted: “But, let me quickly say, as a matter of fact, that in 2019, N19.6 billion was budgeted for capital, and N12.84 billion was released which amounted to 64.37 per cent.

“In 2020, N34.37 billion was allocated and that allocation was released 100 per cent. In 2021, as at May ending, out of the N29 billion budgeted, N17.98 billion was released, representing 61.92 per cent disbursement and we are expecting to achieve 100 per cent disbursement too, for 2021.

“For overhead, in 2019, out of the budgeted amount of N15.64 billion, N14.299 billion was released, which represents 91.01 per cent.”

In 2020, overhead was N20.63 billion and the releases were N20.471 billion, representing 99.21 per cent, and for the current year 2021, in the last three months, out of the budgeted overhead of N20.63 billion, the sum of N4.99 billion has been released, which is 96.75 per cent prorated for three months.

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