Exclusive: 2013 Budget – Why Finance Minister Fails To Give Breakdown

March 03 06:33 2013 Print This Article

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

By ‘Tunde Babalola, Abuja

The last may not have been heard of the 2013 Budget as the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has not been forthcoming in given the breakdown of the budget signed into law last Tuesday.

The refusal of the minister to give the breakdown of the budget is seen in some quarters as reducing the 2013 Budget to a ‘mere memorandum of understanding’ between the Presidency and the National Assembly.

It has been the normal practice for the Minister of Finance to give the breakdown of the budget a day after the President’s assent but barely one week after President Goodluck Jonathan signed the 2013 Budget that has not happened.

We gathered that the intricacies in the nation’s polity gives credit to the ‘sudden’ signing of the budget by the President despite the ongoing negotiations to see to the correction of the budget by the National Assembly to make it implementable by the Executive.

The leadership of the National Assembly were said to have acceded to the wishes of the Presidency to Chief Tony Anenih popularly known as Mr Fix it as the chairman of the ruling party’s Board of Trustees (BOT) if he agrees to sign the budget.

The development makes a case of ‘you rob my back, I rob your back issue’, the development that may not be too palatable for the kitchen cabinet of the president because of the believe that members of the National Assembly may in turn in the year accused the Executive of failure of implementing the budget as they did last year.

The injection of N290 billion constituency projects, reduction of allocation for salaries and increase in overhead costs and adjustments in the capital budget of 2013 budget were identified as some of the grey areas that made President Goodluck Jonathan to delay in signing the 2013 appropriation bill.

Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Nwanze Ogidigbe had previously hinted that that these adjustments made before the national assembly passed the budget need to be corrected to make the budget implementable.

Nwanze who confirmed this said the presidency is into talks with the national assembly led by the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha of the House of Representatives.

“There were some reallocation, some went up, some went down, and some were removed making it difficult to implement. The national assembly has jerked up the total cost from about N4.48 trillion to about N4.9 trillion. It also adjusted the benchmark for oil price from $75 to $79 per barrel and readjusted the capital budget to include constituency project,” he explained.

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