Okonjo-Iweala to Reps: we can’t run budget 100% by Sept

The Executive fired back at the House of
Representatives yesterday over its insistence
on full implementation of the budget by
The lawmakers warned before proceeding on
recess last week that failure to implement
the budget 100 per cent will lead to
impeachment proceedings against President
Goodluck Jonathan.
Yesterday, the Executive ruled out the
possibility of full implementation of the
budget. But Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala explained that 56 per cent of the budget
had been implemented with about N404billion cash released.
The budget Bill signed into law on March 15 was N4.69trillion.
The third quarter fund will be released within the next two weeks, according to the minister.
She spoke to State House correspondents in Abuja. With her were Minister of Information
Labaran Maku; Director General of Bureau for Public Procurement Emeka Eze and Director
General of Budget Dr. Bridgt Okongu. She said there had been a lot of improvement in the
implementation of the budget, saying the 39 per cent recorded for the month of May had
increased to 56 per cent by mid-July.
“First, in my experience worldwide, there is hardly any country where you would implement
100 per cent even by the end of the year and this is based on very broad experience.
“But people try to get at least to 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the budget by September, you
know September is the ninth month of the year, we will definitely be moving towards the
“I think the point is that Mr President is determined to implement this budget as fully as
possible and, therefore, we will be moving towards 90 per cent by the end of the year
because the budget was made for the whole year.
“So you can see that there is no lack of effort, no lack of goodwill. If we could go from 39 per
cent in May to 56 per cent by mid July, that shows a considerable leap and I’m quite
confident that as we go month by month, we will be able to look at it and say yes a good
effort has been made for the country.”
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala also noted that the review of the implementation level of the budget by
the Executive which has seen three ministers, Police Affairs, Interior and Agriculture
appearing before the President to state key indicator performance of their ministries, was to
be able to keep a tap on what have been achieved.
She went on: “As you know, we have released about N404billion so far, cashed back
N324billion and the utilisation of that is 56 per cent. We will soon be considering the release
of the third quarter funds, we hope to do that within the next two weeks or so.
“We do face a couple of challenges that we have also been working with the National
Assembly on, effectively and quietly, we have been working with them on a couple of these
“The first is, of course, many of the constituency projects and new projects put into the
budget needs to be designed and to have feasibility studies because they are new and of
course, this takes a little bit of time for the MDAs to begin the process of procurement which
also takes time.
“To follow the law and you follow the way that the projects are implemented, that takes a
little bit of time to get the design of a new project, to get the feasibility study and so on. We
are very committed to getting this project done; you can’t really begin the implementation of
a project before you have a feasibility study.
“Second is that there are some moves within the budget, during the time that the budget was
considered by the National Assembly, they did move some resources from one category to
the other in comparison to what the Executive had presented. And we have been working
with them quietly and effectively to try and make sure that those resources are moved into
areas where ministers can actually implement.
The BPP DG, Emeka Eze, said the issue of new projects in the 2012 budget, though few,
ought to have been included in the planning before now.”

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