FG releases N404.1b for 2012 capital projects, no stoppage of fuel subsidy payment
Abuja (WorldStage Newsonline)-- The Federal Government of Nigeria has so far released N404.1 billion for capital projects in the current financial year even as the payment for the fuel subsidy claims continued.
The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala , who confirmed this on Thursday, disclosed that out of the N400.1 billion released for implementation of various projects in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, N239.8 billion had been cash-backed out of which a total of N94.1 billion has so far been expended by the MDAs. The expenditure figures represent about 39 per cent of the cash- backed approval.
Speaking on the state of the 2012 capital budget Okonjo-Iweala, who explained that first quarter 2012 releases totalled N304.1 billion while the balance of N100 billion was released in the second quarter, pointed out that much more funds would have been released for projects during the six-month period but that the MDAs were still implementing the 2011 budget up to the end of the first quarter based on the extension of the year’s budget.
She explained that everything was being done to ensure that financial years do not exceed the 12 month calendar period, promising that government would do everything possible to ensure that the implementation of the current year does not spill-over to 2013.
“For first quarter, we released N304.1 billion. We cash-backed to N239.8 billion and cash backing means we have released with warrants and then some of that warrants, we need some agencies to write us when they are ready to do their spending. The reason you don’t see cash-backing for the N304 billion is because some agencies are not ready to make their requests to spend on capital because they are still spending part of their 2011 budgets.
“Out of the N238.9 billion that was cash-backed, we have a utilisation of N94.1 billion, equivalent to 39 per cent. So, what this means is that we released N304 billion, we cash-backed or made instant pay available for expended N239.8 billion.
“But agencies, as at the end of May, spent N94.1 billion or 39 per cent. So that means that many agencies still have a lot of room within the first quarter for spending. Now this performance is not surprising giving the fact that last year budget was extended to March”, Okonjo-Iweala explained.
On the fuel subsidy payment issue, the Minister explained that in addition to the N451 billion paid so far on the arrears of fuel subsidy claims for 2011 financial year, an additional release of N17 billion had also been released for the 2012 claims.
According to her, the Committee set up by the Federal Government to review the entire subsidy payment regime following the sack of the auditors would release its report next week after which government would act on its recommendations.