by Chi Ibe
Minister of the Economy and Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, suggested recently that the 2012 budget may be reviewed.
Okonjo-Iweala hinted that the ₦4.749 trillion 2012 budget could drop by ₦400 billion, as capital expenditure would gulp ₦1.32 trillion and recurrent, ₦2.472 trillion.
The minister assured the committee that despite the planned cut, capital expenditure would not be touched but that the proposed cut would affect overheads and recurrent. “As the executive cuts its own, we hope that the National Assembly will still cut its own, in order to help us. We are going to look at the statutory transfers, look at judiciary, INEC, etc and whoever we can negotiate with to help us out this year. We need to make that sacrifice…so as to bring down the deficit to a manageable level,” she said.
Okonjo-Iweala, who led other officials of the Ministry of Finance before the Senate Committee on Appropriation, headed by Mohammed Maccido, however disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan was yet to be briefed on the planned cut.
Maccido responded that the National Assembly was the first to cut its budget. “We have reduced our own by more than 40 percent and here you are asking us to do more but we’ll take the message to the National Assembly and I’m sure something will be done about it,” he said.
The senator also added: “From our own end, we’ll like you to do something about your line items and service wide votes in the budget. Some of them are very spurious and you have to make them clearer with detailed explanations on each item…”
President Goodluck Jonathan had presented a budget of ₦4.749 trillion for 2012 from ₦4.48 trillion in 2011, saying capital expenditure would gulp ₦1.32 trillion and recurrent, ₦2.472 trillion.