Budget: Okonjo-Iweala to Appear before Senate today

The Presidency says the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala will appear before the Senate on Thursday to give details about the 2012 budget performance.

Minister of Information, Labaran Maku disclosed after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

Maku said Okonjo-Iweala who doubles as the Coordinating Minister of the Economy was prepared to brief the Senate accurately on the budget performance to douse the controversy trailing it.

The minister said the Federal Government was committed to proper implementation of the 2012 budget and urged Nigerians not to generate unnecessary controversy over i “The Minister of Finance should be appearing before the Senate tomorrow to clarify.

“It is better we stop the persistent controversies; Legislature says this, Executive says that. I think that it is really distracting the process of implementation of the budget.

“What is most important at this stage is to tell you that we are working assiduously to execute the budget.

“That is our mandate; that is our job; that is why we were appointed; that’s why we have come to serve the people of Nigeria and I am sure that every minister, all of us, we know our duties, we know what to do.’’

Maku said Nigerians should avert their minds to the fact that the budget was passed by the National Assembly in March and assented to by the president in April

He also identified the strict procurement process which made it mandatory that due process be followed in the award and implementation of any contract as another reason for delays.

He assured that as soon as project implementation scaled through the procurement process people would see an upward spiral in the implementation of the budget.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Senate had earlier summoned Okonjo-Iweala to appear before it on Tuesday, and address a public hearing by the Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance on the Budget 2012 implementation.

The minister did not show-up at the public hearing because she was on official trip to London to represent President Goodluck Jonathan at an investment forum.

Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, had frowned at the development and said that the issue of budget performance should take precedence over any other assignment.

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