Coordinating Minister for the economy and the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala today explained the reason for President Goodluck Jonathan’s budget amendment sent to the House of Representatives saying it was because the country is experiencing shortfall in revenue generation.
Okonjo who appeared before the House committee on Appropriation to answer questions bordering on her comment that the economy might collapse in September if the National Assembly refused to pass the budget amendment said she did not make such a comment.
But the minister insisted that a government experiencing revenue shortfall cannot ask for supplementary budget when it does not even have the money to spend.
“We cannot ask for supplementary budget when we are having revenue shortfall, ew don’t even have the revenue basis to spend more”, she said.
According to her, government has managed to keep the pace going in spite of the challenges it has in the area of shortfall in revenue.
She said the sum of N400 billion and N200 billion were released in the first and second quarter of the year out of which the sum of N585 billion was cash backed.
Okonjo added that already sixty seven percent of the amount released has been utilized just as she dismissed the claim that fund meant for constituency projects of the lawmakers has been removed from the budget.
She explained that the money has been kept in a separate fund according to the directive from Mr. President so that anytime the MDAs are ready for the projects they can have access to the funds.
She said the new arrangement was to save the constituency projects from the unpalatable experiences of the past.