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Reps summon Finance minister

By BEN AGANDE & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA—HOUSE of Representatives, yesterday, queried the Executive arm of government on the poor implementation of the 2011 budget.

It, therefore, summoned the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo_Iweala; Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, BOF, Dr. Bright Okogwu; and Minister and Chairman of the National Planning Commission, Shamsudeen Usman, to explain the alleged selective implementation of the budget.

Apparently worried by the poor implementation of the budget, the House in an unanimous motion said the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo_Iweala, Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation (BOF), Dr. Bright Okogwu and Minister and Chairman of the National Planning Commission, Shamsudeen Usman should explain the alleged selective implementation of the budget.

Abandoned projects

A member of the House, Mr Patrick Ikhariale, Chairman, House Committee on Power, who moved the motion observed that capital projects, including those rolled over from the 2010 budget had been jettisoned by the executive arm.

He noted that if not checked the development would swell up the number of abandoned projects.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister

Ikhariale said the non implementation of the capital component of the 2010 budget by almost 60 per cent had dangerous consequences for a developing economy like Nigeria’s, noting that there was need for the Appropriation Committee to recapture such projects in the 2012 Appropriation Bill being expected.

The development came on the heels of President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for the House to approve a virement of N98.446 billion in the 2011 budget of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDA. Virement is an exercise that involves moving funds allocated from one subhead to another where they are supposedly more needed.

Ministries cum agencies to be affected in the exercise, according to the President’s letter dated September 27, 2011 include, Ministries of Niger Delta, Agriculture and Rural Development, Education, Justice, Health, Aviation, Lands, Housing and Urban Development. Also to be affected if approved by the National Assembly is Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, and Police formations and commands.

In another letter to the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the President said he has sent the Medium Term Fiscal Framework for 2012_2015. The document, he explained contained the Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework as well as the Fiscal Strategy Paper for the period.

The National Assembly, had in March, passed a harmonised Appropriation Act of N4.9 trillion for the 2011 fiscal year.

Meanwhile, another motion sponsored by Princess Peace Nnaji, seeking a resolution to direct GSM service providers to send proof of successful SIM card registration to subscribers, and for the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, to publish data of all such successful registrations among other prayers was adopted by the House. It was subsequently referred to its committee on communications for further actions.


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