Full budget implementation is impossible – Okonjo-Iweala wants House of Reps to calm down

by Adeniyi Abdul

Minister of Finance and co-ordinating minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has  responded to demands being made by the House of Reps for 100% implementation of the 2012 budget, stating unequivocally that it will be impossible to achieve by September.

The House had gone so far as to threaten President Goodluck Jonathan with impeachment if the budget was not fully implemented but statements made by the Finance minister at the Federal Executive Council meeting have ruled out that possibility.

“In my experience worldwide, there is hardly any country where you would implement 100% even by the end of the year and this is based on very broad experience,” Okonjo-Iweala said. “But people try to get at least to 80-something and 90% of the budget, as much as can be done.”

“So, we will definitely be moving. I think the point is that Mr. President is determined to implement this budget as fully as possible and therefore we will be moving towards the figure of full implementation as we can by the end of the year because the budget was made for the whole year.

“The president has been very insistent on reviewing budget implementation on a monthly basis and the executive has also been working quite collaboratively with the National Assembly on the budget by meeting with the various committees of both the House and the Senate, and so we did our usual monthly discussions to see where we are.”

“Let me stress that the objective of Mr. President and that of the executive is very much the same as that of the National Assembly, which is to ensure that there is budget execution in order to deliver on the development programmes for this country,” she said, echoing the words of Presidential Aide Joy Emodi.

“Another challenge is that during the time that the budget was being considered by the National Assembly, they did move some resources from one category to the other in comparison to what the executive had presented and the executive has been working with them quietly and effectively to try and make sure that those resources are moved into areas where ministers can actually implement.”

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