The Federal Minister for Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has met with the Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal on the need to stop the cold war between the lawmakers and the Executive.
“Daily Post” gathered authoritatively that at the meeting which lasted for two hours, Okonjo-Iweala was begging the speaker of House of Representatives to foil the attempt by the others lawmakers to impeach the president over the poor implementation of the budget by September.
But the Speaker was said to have told the Minister that the budget implementation row is neither personal to him nor the Minister.
Tambuwal claimed that the lower chamber members took such step to ensure the budget is fully implemented in the interest of all Nigerians.
Sources told “Daily Post” that the Minister, who appeared before a Senate Committee yesterday, had a no-holds-barred audience with the Speaker in London on Monday to find “amicable solution” to the budget execution logjam.
A source, who pleaded not to be named because he is not permitted to speak to the media, said: “The Minister took time to give the details of budget implementation so far and why the mass release of funds had been very slow.
“She said the budget implementation plan put in place was not being adhered to by MDAs, especially their poor response to utilization of funds.
“She explained that there is a tight implementation plan to curb waste and ensure that Nigerians have value from the funds released to the MDAs.”
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, it was said, denied deliberately delaying release of funds to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). She explained that some ministries had actually got full release of their funds, it was learnt.
The sources said: “She later reeled out facts and figures to back her points on the budget implementation procedure. She disclosed that the release of funds is being fast-tracked now.
The source described the Minister as “humble” during the mutual session.
But at the end of the meeting, Tambuwal reportedly told the Minister that “our concern about budget implementation is not personal; we want the system to run its full course.”
The Speaker was quoted as saying: “I respect you; the issue is not about your person or my person but it is about having the budget implemented for the benefit of Nigerians. The House does not have anything personal against the President and you.
“She also begged the Speaker to prevail on members to show some understanding and see the process as part of improving the system. She pledged that the Executive would take into account the observations of the House to increase the percentage of the implementation of 2012 Budget.”
Another source, who also pleaded not to be named, said: “Having received many entreaties and interventions from the Executive and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the onus is on the Speaker to brief the House on what transpired during the recess.
“From what transpired so far, the House may soft-pedal on its impeachment threat and give acceptable benchmark for the 2012 budget implementation.
“The House might also extend the tenor of the 2012 budget by one or two months to ensure appreciable implementation. These are options that might be tabled before members in September.”
In spite of the rapprochement to the House, some Senators met in Abuja yesterday on the Executive’s stand on the budget.
- Impeachment brouhaha (vanguardngr.com)
- Budget implementation: Reps to meet Finance Minister today (vanguardngr.com)