Okonjo-Iweala presents N4.6 trillion budget for 2014

Minister of Finance, Ngozi -Okonjo-Iweala laying the budget before the Senate in December

N3.7 trillion will cover recurrent expenditure while only N1.1 trillion is earmarked for developmental or capital projects.

The Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has presented the federal government’s spending plan for 2014.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan at separate sittings of the Senate and the House of Representatives, said the government proposes to spend N4.6 trillion in 2014.

Of that figure, N3.7 trillion will cover recurrent expenditure while only N1.1 trillion is earmarked for developmental or capital projects.

The three key figures represent a reduction from the past two years. For 2013, total spending stood at N4.9 trillion, while the government said it had succeeded lowering recurrent spending from 71.47 per cent in 2012 to 68.7 per cent in 2013.

Capital expenditure also rose from 28.53 per cent in 2012 to 31.3 per cent in 2013.

The figures announced by the finance minister show the government was again preparing to spend more on wages, running, and personnel cost. That quota has risen from 68.7 percent in 2013 to 72 percent in 2014.

Thursday’s presentation was devoid of the usual pomp of annual budget events. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala was only allowed by the two chambers to lay the budgets without a speech.

It was the first time since the return of democracy in 1999 that a minister would present the budget on behalf of the president.

Speaking to journalists after the presentation ceremony, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said the aggregate expenditure excluded funds for Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P.

The minister said the 2014 national budget will focus on job creation and inclusive growth.

“The budget is going to support the push in agriculture, it will kick-start the housing sector where we can create more jobs; it is designed to our policies that would support manufacturing because jobs would be created there,” she said.

“Industries will also be created in solid minerals. All these support will continue to be unleashed. Job creation is the key to really solving the problems of the Nigerian economy.”

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