The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, on Wednesday assured Nigerians that the 2014 budget would soon be signed and presented to public after reconciliation of few areas of differences with the National Assembly.
The minister gave the assurance at the post Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House.
Maku said that the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, briefed the council on the progress of the budget.
He explained that what was delaying the assent of Mr President was the few areas of differences in the budget passed and sent to the government by the National Assembly.
He said the Federal Ministry of Finance was working closely with the National Assembly to reconcile the differences.
“We will do everything possible to reconcile the few differences that emerged in what was transmitted to the government by the National Assembly.
“There are few areas of distortions and they are those areas that are very serious.
“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.
“There is a lot of conversation going on now between the Federal Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly on these issues.
“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.
Maku further assured that though the budget had been delayed for too long, government would ensure its implementation when finally ready.
“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.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the executive broke the jinx by sending the 2014 budget proposal early in December 2013.
The National Assembly, in early April, passed the 2014 budget totaling N4.695, an amount which was N52.2 billion higher than the N4.642 trillion submitted by the president.
The budget was transmitted to the executive about two weeks after it was passed by the National Assembly.
Maku said that the Federal Government would do what ever was necessary to rescue the abducted school girls in Chibok, Borno.
“We are ready to go to any length to secure the release of these our unfortunate daughters that have been in captivity.
“Everything is being done in relation to every operational measures that will be taken, particularly by the Nigerian armed forces, in collaboration with foreign assistance, that have been offered by different nations of the world,” he said.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Zainab Maina, who was also at the briefing, said the issue of abduction attracted sentiments from the members of FEC, led by the president.
She said President Jonathan “as a father, advocate of girl-child education and supporter of women development, has been pained by the abduction of the school girls”.
She said the council members condemned the abduction and promised to give every necessary support to the president on the rescue efforts of the girls.