By EMMA UJAH, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF
ABUJA—The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, insisted, yesterday, that the 2012 capital budget implementation as at June 20, was 56 per cent and that she was managing the budget transparently in the best interests on the generality of Nigerians.
Responding to criticisms over the implementation of the budget, especially by members of the House of Representatives, she said transparency and prudence remained the key priorities of the Federal Government in the management of the 2012 budget.
The minister in a statement issued by her Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Paul Nwanuikwu said “Our objective is to achieve both higher budget implementation and better management of the country’s resources. We will not toy with public resources because they belong to all Nigerians”.
The minister explained that the Federal Ministry of Finance was not holding any budgeted funds back, as alleged in some quarters and that more releases of funds would soon be witnessed.
She gave details of the implementation of the N 1.3 trillion capital budget as follows: releases so far: N404 billion; cash-backed portion of the capital budget: N324 billion; and percentage of cash backed portion that has been utilised: 56 per cent.
The minister further said the improvement in implementation ratio from 39.2 per cent by the end of May to 56 per cent 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 there would be further improvement in the level of implementation before the end of the year.
According to her, in order to “maximise results, the ministry is careful and methodical in releasing funds to MDAs” and that there was more room for more implementation, given the rate achieved so far.