By Our Reporter

 


The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday appeared before the Senate to explain several issues on the 2012 budget implementation.

The minister assured the lawmakers that the budget implementation was on course.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala

She explained that the implementation of the budget began in April, saying the ministry has so far released only N404 billion instead of N446 billion.

According to her, only 56 percent of the capital budget had been utilised while 44 per cent was still outstanding.

“There is more room for utilisation.  At least 56 per cent of the funds released had been used, meaning 44 per cent is still available for implementation.

“The budget must work for Nigerians. They must feel the impact. That is our focus.

“We have been working collaboratively with the National Assembly. We have made sure that salaries have been paid and that we are meeting other obligations,” Okonjo-Iweala told the senators at the session.

The minister also argued that the execution of the budget should be kept within January and December, stressing that the current practice of extending it to March of the following year should be discontinued.

She added that the ministry had been providing funds to Ministries, Departments and Agencies “in bulk,” noting that there had been no selection of projects.

 

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