Jul 6 2012
BY OKEY NDIRIBE & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
The Reps also accused the Federal Government of discrimination and the selective nature of releases to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, which had largely affected implementation.Also yesterday, the Minister of Finance suggested that there was need for Nigeria to have at least $10 billion on its Excess Crude Account as most countries in Africa now have crude.
Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Mr John Enoh, in his address at the meeting with relevant stakeholders, expressed concern on the low level of implementation of the budget, adding that most of the MDAs complained that funds were not released at at appropriate time.
Enoh said: “If money is not released and some of these ministries are complaining to our committees that are going on oversight, we need to see how we could strengthen the implementation. We like to have an updated documents to show that over N400 billion had been released.”
The chairman said the Ministry of Niger Delta got 50 per cent of its allocation but the question is: what can be responsible for that? One is worried because reports get to us from our standing committee that there were so many on-going projects that these ministries and parastatals can utilise their funds on.
He said: “I can tell you that Ministry of Water Resources got an allocation of N70 billion but got just about N10 billion, likewise the Ministry of Land and Housing, of N42 billion allocated to it, got N6 billion.”
Releases based on performance —Okonjo-Iweala
Responding to issues raised, the Finance Minister said it’s not that he ministry was being discriminatory or selective in the releases but that the releases in the second quarter were based on performance in the first quarter releases made.
She admitted that some monies were moved from ministries to the other, especially those areas where the money are being required,saying some monies were moved from one committee to the other.
She said: “I am saying this because of the way the implementation is going on. There was an urgent need for money in the Ministries of Agriculture and Power. Some projects may have been under funded. N3.4 billion in the first quarter and N239 million was released. We started a bit late. Where we have contractors working and not paid and they wanted to down tools we paid them.”
On excess crude oil account
She said: “Dependence on oil, the story is changing today. Almost all the countries around us in the continent have oil. There is competition so there is need to diversify.
“It would be very wise to build buffers for this economy, meaning that crude oil money should be allowed to grow to $10 billion and also grow our reserve. With the implementation of the first quarter, some of the ministries have got their money.
The minister explained further that the ministry was looking at the performance before giving them another, adding: “We try to encourage them to utilise their money so that we could release for them in the next quarter. We also look at the areas where certificates are piled up. We make releases in the second quarter on the bases of performance.”
Viewed 1014 times by 318 viewers0