Govt’ll Borrow To Finance 2012 Budget – Okupe

The Presidency on Wednesday explained why it was becoming difficult to fully implement the 2012 budget.

It said apart from the fact that some ministries, departments and agencies were having capacity problems, government was also going to source for money through loan to implement the budget.

The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, stated this to journalists in Abuja.

Okupe was asked to explain why it was difficult for the Presidency to implement the budget as passed by the National Assembly.

It will be recalled that the face-off between the Federal Government and members of the National Assembly over the poor implementation of the budget has made the members of the House of Representatives to threaten the President with impeachment.

But Okupe said the face-off was unnecessary.

He said, “I see the current misunderstanding between the members of the NASS and the Federal Government, especially the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as something that is not very healthy and not necessary.

“The Assembly is saying that because money has been budgeted, it ought to be released as per the quarter it is due.

“Now, this is fiscally unadvisable and no serious manager of nation resources will dispense money in that manner.

“I want to bring up the fact that there is a budget deficit of over a N1tr in the budget.

“The implication of which is that some part of the money required to fund the budget will be borrowed.”

He said it would not make economic sense to borrow money and give the MDAs when they have not exhausted the money given them before.

If this is done, Okupe said, it would mean that “government will be paying interest of up to 15 per cent on money that will just be sitting in the bank for the MDAs waiting to be applied.”

He also said though the money was expected to be disbursed by the Federal Ministry of Finance, it was not at the end of every quarter or month that the money required was available.

He, however, gave assurance that there was nothing to worry about on the implementation of the budget, saying that government would achieve at least 70 per cent of it before the end of the year.

Okupe said, “This budget, if we go by what the House of Representatives claimed that all that the FG has done by July 30 was 34 per cent implementation, that means that the FG has utilised 34 per cent of the budget in just two and half months.

“A budget is supposed to be for a whole year. That means that in the next nine and half months, even going by the same pace, it would have hit 70 per cent.”