The Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Bright Okogu, says implementation of the 2014 budget is on the right track.
Okogu said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that most components of the 2014 budget were being seen to on a monthly basis especially the recurrent aspects of the budget.
“We are on target; we are paying and meeting all of the obligations of government. Salaries are being paid which is usually the first area that you generally will look out for as a government.
“We also are doing our usual with servicing our debt. Again, these are things you need to do as a sovereign (nation), (its is) something you can’t simply ignore.
“That one is being done and we are very much up to date.
“The transfers to the National Assembly, Judiciary, NDDC and UBEC; by current laws, they are required to have special amounts transferred to them and we are doing all of those.’’
On the Capital aspects of the 2014 budget, Okogu said that although it was not yet 100 per cent but a lot of money had been released to different Ministries, Departments and Agencies to do their work.
He said N210 billion was released in the first quarter, N200 billion in the second quarter while another N200 billion was released for the third quarter to all MDAs to do their work.
“The money released in the third quarter is being cash backed and we have already done a N100 billion and the rest of it is being cash backed as we go forward”, he said.
Okogu said that the Federal Government had been consistent in releasing money for the progress of the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
“SURE-P has N268 billion in the 2014 budget; the money is being released at the moment to the various MDAs that are benefiting from that.
“And I need to tell you (is) that the utilisation so far out of the N268 billion is roughly N160 billion. Some new claims have come, which we are finalising.
“To that extent, you can easily say that the budget is being implemented”.
Okogu said that the government was working to improve an alternate source of funding since oil revenue had become undependable due to the fall of crude oil prices at the international market.
“One of the areas that has not been well publisised is the non-oil drive. We have set a new target for the Federal Inland Revenue Services, working with the McKinsey group, an international consulting firm.
“They were given a target of half a billion dollars which translates to about N75 to N80 billion and as at July, they had done more than 44 billion as extra over and above what FIRS would normally collect.
“So we are very optimistic that before or by the end of the year, they must (would) have met the target or even surpassed it”.
Okogu said that he was aware that a lot of MDAs were complaining of inadequate funding and urged them to be patient.
According to him, it is a fact that some MDAS are not getting what they should receive.
“When you are doing budget implementation, you look at the seasonality aspect, agriculture needs to be funded more during certain seasons.
“The same thing with Ministry of Works, Niger Delta Affairs and FCT because these ones have to do with a lot of construction activities during the dry season.
“So, over the last few years, we have had the approach of giving them a bit more during the appropriate seasons for the peak of their work in other to make sure that they maximise what is available”.
Okogu gave the assurance that there was money and it was being released systematically to achieve government’s aims. (NAN)