The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has confirmed that 41.3% of the 2012 capital budget has been implemented so far and that the implementation of the 2012 budget began in April after it was passed into law.

The Minister made this known while speaking at an interactive meeting with members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation on Thursday where she stated that President Goodluck Jonathan had been leading the drive for higher budget performance.

According to her, the sum of N1.3 trillion was appropriated for capital expenditure in the 2012 budget and out of this; the ministry has released N404 billion with N324 billion cash backed.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala also stated that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) have used 56% of the funds cash backed for capital expenditure leaving 44% of the funds unused.

“So far, 56 per cent of the capital budget had been utilised while 44 per cent was still outstanding.”

“There is more room for utilisation. 56 per cent of the funds that has been released, has been used, meaning 44 per cent is still available for implementation” she said.

The Minister explained that, “if you measure what’s been implemented over the entire budget you get 13.7%. But because we’re talking about 4months, the implementation is 41%”

“The Federal Ministry of Finance is not holding back any budgeted funds. The CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) can confirm that” she added, denying that there has been selection of projects.

The ministry had been providing funds to Ministries, Departments and Agencies “in bulk” she said.

“We release resources to MDAs in bulk. There is no discrimination. We don’t have a selective approach” she added.

She added that the ministry has so far released N1.6 trillion for recurrent expenditure.

The Minister claimed she was misquoted by the media and that the figures being thrown around on the level of budget implementation are not true.

Constituency Projects

Ahead of the meeting, the Senators had been displeased at remarks purported to have been made by the Minister blaming the tardy fund releases on Constituency Projects added into the appropriation act by the legislators.

On her alleged statements on constituency projects, Dr Okonjo-Iweala clarified her position saying it is not true that the president has told ministries not to implement constituency projects.

According to her, ministries have already launched the procurement process for the constituency projects.

She assured that the execution of the budget would be kept within January-December, adding that the current practice of extending it to March of the following year should be discontinued.

She also promised that the 2013 budget would be submitted to the National Assembly by September this year.