Nigeria’s Govt agencies to suffer capital budget removal in 2013 fiscal year


By LAZ IBEABUCHI

The Federal Government will not approve capital budget for most ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the 2013 fiscal year, says the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

This is aimed at reducing the level of fiscal indiscipline in public expenditure pattern.

The government said it is working at correcting structural imbalance in expenditure profile, thus ensuring that the share of funds allocated for economic development programmes, progress yearly over the medium term.

Speaking at a consultative meeting with the organised private sector and civil society organisations on the Federal Government 2013 budget tagged “Charting the way forward for inclusive growth” in Lagos, Dr. Ngozi said a committee is working towards the identification of areas of cross-cutting functions among MDAs’ mandate so as to appropriately rationalise them in order to eliminate areas of wastages and duplication.

“In the budget, we want to have a look at those areas that the president will make a mark in developing the economy. We started this last year by channeling the resources into power, education, health, agriculture and others. We are going to continue this in the medium term.

“In doing this, we also have to look at the ministries, department and agencies where there are over laps. Before we do this, we have to meet the National Assembly to review the law because the agencies are backed by law. So, we want to look at them carefully and determine their relevance to the economy.

“Also, we have to look at the budget and pick out those expenditures that are not essential. For instance last year, we saw some administrative overheads which were irrelevant. Some MDAs bought computers, furniture, etc each year that are irrelevant. Things that you don’t have to repeat again, they keep coming.

“In other to curb irrelevant expenditures in these MDAs, we want to see if we can computerise the expenditure pattern in the MDAs to actually cut irrelevant cost. In 2013, we shall sustain our consolidation effort on the need for prudence in the management of public finance, look at the need to reduce the debt stock by paying off some outstanding debt, among others,” she said.

In his submission, the Director-General, Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu, noted that a multiplicity of over-lapping functions had been observed in the MDAs, thereby necessitating the need to enhance prudent management of public resources and minimise leakages and their sources.

“As such, MDAs do not need to have capital budget. So we are going to remove capital budget for many of the MDAs. In 2013, we are going to focus on on-going projects. So, if MDAs will bring budget, it must be only on three conditions. Firstly, it must be an ongoing one; secondly, it must have reached certain level of completion and thirdly, can bring about some economic reforms that will make it important,” he said.


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