By Daniel Idonor
ABUJA â€” THE Federal Government yesterday said for the first time in Nigeriaâ€™s history Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are to commence capital expenditure as from January 2010 based on the 2009 budget without necessarily waiting for the National Assembly to pass the 2010 Appropriation Act, as it was done in the past.
Minister of Finance, Dr Mansur Mulktar, who gave the assurance while fielding questions from State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC), also disclosed that 11 of the 27 ministries had achieved between and 70 and 80 per cent performance.
He said a lot of progress was recorded in the execution of the 2009 budget, adding: â€œWe are making a lot of progress and I think also in looking at budget execution, we should look at both recurrent and capital. In recurrent, we have made considerable progress, 80 or 90 per cent in some instances,â€
He, however, attributed governmentâ€™s decision to embark on capital expenditure in the first quarter of next year to the approval of the National Assembly, saying: â€œWe are also very delighted that the National Assembly has indicated its willingness to allow capital into the spending to continue through to the first quarter. We are delighted with the decision and we are very supportive of this as it will allow us to deliver on the promise that this administration has made.
â€œI want to give assurance that we have made considerable progress. I want to set the record and put things in perspective in terms of the progress that has been recorded, even as at the end of October we talked about 50 per cent utilisation rate, but to put things in context, if we look at ministries, departments and agencies we have at least 11 ministries that have scored between 70 and 80 per cent in terms of execution.
â€œWe had a bit of challenge in respect to the power sector because of the delays associated with the rainy season but now things have picked up considerably.
â€œAnother area where we had a bit of a challenge was in power. The delays were experienced because of the Power Holding, the distribution companies, decentralisation challenges and all of these have now been addressed.
For health, education and social sector, the Minister said â€œmost of the spendings geared towards improving people’s lives are in recurrent spending in terms of supplies to schools, medical supplies, salaries to teachers etc. and we are doing very well in these areasâ€.