FG releases N170bn fourth quarter allocation to MDAs

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Out of N300 billion approved for MDAs, the Federal Government has cash backed N170 billion.

The Federal Government has released N170 billion to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, for the fourth quarter allocation in the 2012 budget.  This is part of the N300 billion approved for them for the fourth quarter.

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said in Abuja on Monday that about N111 billion of the release went directly into the accounts of the benefitting MDAs.

“On the issue of cash backing for the fourth quarter, we released N300 billion last quarter for a total of N1.01 trillion in releases,” she said. “It is not correct to say that we have not cash backed the  fourth quarter release. The correct information is that N170 billion of the N300 billion has been cashed backed.”

Of the amount cash backed, the minister said, “about  N111 billion  of  that has gone straight into the accounts of Ministries, Department and Agencies as cash and a balance of about N59 billion in going through the Authorisations to Incur Expenditure, AIEs, because those entities have to apply specifically to us (the ministry) to effect the release of their resources.”

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said that as at the end of October, from the total amount that has been cash backed, 71 per cent had been utilised, while 20 per cent was yet to be utilised, pointing out that by the end of November the released amount would have been fully utilised by the MDAs.

“Another N170 billion has been loaded into the account. We have been careful to ensure that about N44.7 billion of this has been utilised on specific key projects that should be ready against the Christmas season. So, we believe that before the end of the year, it will be utilised by the MDAs.

“We also want to be careful not to just release funds anyhow until we are sure of what it is being used for,” she said.

On the police pension, she said that government has resolved to have a restructured police pension arrangement capable of overseeing a transparent management of the pension payment.

“To ensure that police pensioners are paid, we handed over the management of the account to the Accountant General of the Federation and he has been effecting payment to pensioners as and when due. He has restructured the nine accounts into four, while the restructuring of the police pension outfit goes on,’’ the minister said.

On the Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede committee and the subsidy payment, she said following the submission of the report  to the president, what has been seen as dubious claims that cannot be substantiated is put at N232.2 billion out of the over N1 trillion of total verified claims by petroleum products marketers.

“Based on the data handed over to the ministry, based on verified payments made from time to time, at no point in time have we stopped making payments to marketers.

“We are preparing another payment to marketers in December now that the final verification has been done. So, there should not be any issue about fuel queues has resurfaced due to lack of payment to marketers,” she said.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said the government is working to see how much of this N232 billion claims could be recovered and paid back to the Federal Government, particularly monies that should be paid to the government.

“We have managed to hold back some of these payments until we have sorted out all that is due to the government is paid. About N29 billion of the N232.2 billion is being held back so far as payment to be made to government,” she said.

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