The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday assured Nigerians that the 2012 budget is being managed in a way that protects and enhances the best interests of the country.
Responding to concerns raised in some quarters recently, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said that transparency and prudence remain the key priorities of the Federal Government in the management of the 2012 budget.
“Our objective is to achieve both higher budget implementation and better management of the country’s resources”, she said.
“We will not toy with public resources because they belong to all Nigerians”.
Regarding the implementation of the capital budget, some of the key milestones of the 2012 budget according to the minister include:
• Total capital budget for 2012: N1.3 trillion
• Releases so far: N404 billion
• Cash backed portion of the capital budget: N324 billion
• Percentage of cash backed portion that has been utilised: 56%
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said that the improvement in implementation ratio from 39.2% by the end of May to 56% 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.
She expressed confidence that there will be further improvement in the level of implementation before the end of the year.
The minister emphasised that to maximise results, the ministry is careful and methodical in releasing funds to MDAs. She stressed that given the rate of utilisation, there is still room for more implementation.
She said that the Federal Ministry of Finance is not holding any budgeted funds back and that more releases of funds will be made in the near future.