“There are few areas of distortions and there are those areas that are very serious.”
President Goodluck Jonathan has not signed the 2014 budget into law because federal lawmakers distorted its figures during approval, Information Minister, Labaran Maku, has said
Briefing journalists after the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC, which was presided over by Mr. Jonathan, Mr. Maku said the distortions, if not properly addressed before signing into law, would create a negative impact on the economy.
“There are few areas of distortions and there are those areas that are very serious; and we think there is a need to look into them because of the negative impact those distortions may have on the implementation of the budget,” he said.
The minister described the development on the budget as “regrettable.”
“The minister of finance briefed us today at the FEC relating to the progress on the budget. It is very sad that we have almost entered the middle of the year and we don’t have a budget.
“This indeed is sad that the budget has taken so long in coming and practically we have less than seven months to execute the budget,” he said.
Mr. Maku assured that government was doing everything possible to reconcile the differences between what the Executive sent to the National Assembly and what was approved.
He said the budget would be signed into law as soon as the issues are resolved.
“There is a lot of conversation going on now between the Federal Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly on these issues. And very shortly we believe that we are going to reconcile those areas and then the final budget will be announced to the nation by the President,” he said.
The National Assembly approved the 2014 budget; raising the figures to N4.695 trillion, from the N4.642 trillion submitted by the Executive.
This increased the budget figure by about N53 billion higher than the original estimate transmitted by President Goodluck Jonathan on December 19, 2013, through the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The approved 2014 budget is made up of statutory transfers, N408.687 billion; debt servicing, N712 billion; recurrent expenditure, N2.454 trillion; and capital expenditure, N1.119 trillion.
In the proposal submitted by the Executive, the recurrent expenditure was put at N2.4 trillion while capital expenditure was N1.1 trillion.
The budget passed was based on an oil price benchmark of $77.5 per barrel and crude oil production of 2.3883 million barrels per day.