Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
By Ndubuisi Francis
Of the N1.3 trillion budgeted for the execution of capital projects in the 2012 budget, the Federal Ministry of Finance has so far released a total of N710.4 billion to the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) since the passage of the Appropriation Act in April.
The total release of N710.4 billion is about N306 billion higher than the N404 billion released as at June.
Of the N710.4 billion released, N535.2 billion is cash-backed, and N320.9 billion of the amount has been utilised by the MDAs, representing 58 per cent of the cash-backed funds, while 45.2 per cent of the released amount (N710.4 billion) has been utilised by the MDAs.
Coordinating Minister for the Economy (CME) and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who gave the figures in a document on preparations for the 2013 budget, said: “The implementation of the 2012 budget could not begin till April because the MDAs were still implementing the 2011 budget up until the end of March.
“This is why this is important; as long as we delay implementation, it is very difficult to talk about ratios. If you want to talk about implementation, you then have to measure it from April, May, June, July, August and September. It will be unfair to go and have a ratio over the entire thing.”
The minister stated that efforts were being intensified to ensure higher budget implementation before the end of the year, even as she disclosed that constructive engagement with the National Assembly had commenced on how to start implementing the 2013 budget from January next year should the budget be passed by December.
By July, implementation of the 2012 budget was the subject of controversy that pitted the executive arm of government against the legislature.
Before it went on recess in July, the House of Representatives had ordered the executive to achieve full implementation of the budget by the time it resumed in September.
The lower chamber had faulted the claim by the minister that implementation of the 2012 budget had risen from 39.2 per cent in May to 56 per cent as at June 20, insisting that on the contrary, implementation then stood at 34 per cent.
However, in a statement by her media aide, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, the minister had restated that the total capital budget for 2012 stood at N1.3 trillion with releases as at July standing at N404 billion, adding that the cash-backed portion of the capital budget was N324 billion of which 56 per cent had been utilised.