If the National Assembly fails to amend the contents of the 2013 Appropriation Act, the Federal Government may not be able to pay workers’ salary by October, the Finance Minister and coordinating minister of the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala stated this yesterday while peaking in a radio programme tagged “Political Platform” on Ray Power FM.
She said, “We have been able to implement the budget to a state that we now discovered that there has to be some amendment; so Mr President sent the amendments to the National Assembly. I think we can continue for a little while longer; we need the amendment to pass because come September or October we may not be able to pay salaries.”
Explaining further on steps taken to solve the budget impasse, the Minister said, “We have been talking with various committees and the leadership in a collegial way trying to see how we can fix this problem. But one specific example that is critical is the salary and between now and October, we will need about N36 billion”.
According to her, the bone of contention is the differential in funds used for some sundry other items aside from those spelt out in the Act which will have to be covered. “That means that in those categories that they were removed, we may not be able to achieve such goals.
“One important part of the amendment is the salary that was moved out of that category to other subheads, which has to be restored: we need to restore N36bn for salary that was carried out so that the country will not shut down,” she said
On state of the Nigerian economy, the finance minister was quick to dispel the notion that the country is broke stressing that what is currently being experienced is cash flow hiccups.
“We have been very open about it. I always believe in telling Nigerians about what the situation is all about with regards to the budget, with regards to the economy. Nigerian economy is fundamentally strong but within a strong economy, you can experience a cash flow problem. Outside agents regard us as fundamentally strong. Now the issue is we are experiencing short term problem,” she said.