Minister of Finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has reassured Nigerians that the 2012 budget is being managed in a way that protects and enhances the best interests of the country. She reiterated that the Federal Ministry of Finance was not holding any budgeted funds back and that more releases of funds will be made in the near future.
She made this clarification today while responding to concerns raised in some quarters recently. She said in a statement by Paul Nwabuikwu her senior special assistant that transparency and prudence remain the key priorities of the federal government in the management of the 2012 budget.
“Our objective is to achieve both higher budget implementation and better management of the country’s resources”, declared Dr Okonjo-Iweala. “We will not toy with public resources because they belong to all Nigerians” the finance minister said .
Regarding the implementation of the capital budget, some of the key milestones of the 2012 budget so far include:Total capital budget for 2012: N1.3 trillion.She put the releases so far at N404 billion while the cash backed portion of the capital budget is N324 billion.According the finance minister, the percentage of cash backed portion that has been utilized is 56%
She explained that the improvement in implementation ratio from 39.2% by the end of May to 56% utilisation of cash backed resources by June 20 was made possible by the direct leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan who is personally leading the drive for better budget performance.
Dr Okonjo Iweala expressed confidence that the there will be further improvement in the level of implementation before the end of the year.
The minister emphasised that to maximise results, the ministry is careful and methodical in releasing funds to MDAs. She stressed that given the rate of utilisation, there is still room for more implementation.