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Jonathan Absent As Finance Minister Presents N4.6tr Budget To National Assembly

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Credit: PUNCH

Credit: PUNCH

The Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday presented the 2014 budget estimate of N4.6tr to the National Assembly.

Analyst say the crisis in the ruling People’s democratic party must have resulted in President Jonathan delegating the Finance Minister to present the 2014 budget at the Joint session of the National Assembly.

Budget presentation for Jonathan in the past has been an event to score political points and garner support from members of parliament but for the year 2014, it was left for Okonjo-Iweala.

Though no law says it is a mandatory function of the President to present the budget but the Presentation of the budget before the joint session of the parliamentarians affords the President an opportunity to hear from both chambers as it concerns budget implementation by the executive.

Iweala laid the document on the table before the senators during their plenary, presided over by Senate President David Mark who said the action was in conformity with section 81 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The section empowers the President to communicate the budget to the National Assembly.

The Minister said the SURE-P fund was not part of the estimated budget.

The capital expenditure was put at about N1.1tr, which according to her, is about 27 per cent of the budget and the recurrent expenditure, “about 72 per cent of the budget.”

She said, “This budget is the budget for job creation and inclusive growth; meaning that its a budget which will continue the president’s transformation agenda for several sectors of the economy.

“The budget is going to support the push in agriculture; it will kick-start the housing sector where we can create more jobs; it is designed to promote our policies that would support manufacturing because jobs would be created there.

“Industries will also be created in solid minerals. All these support will continued to be unleashed. Job creation is the key to really solving the problems of the Nigerian economy.”

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