By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
The implementation of the 2004 budget has fallen below target as most ministries and parastatals have not shown determination and willingness to execute capital projects for which money was made available by the federal government. Only 43 percent of the money released by the federal government to ministries and parastal for budget execution was utilised in the first half of 2004. This being the first year of the implementation of Nigeria‚Äôs poverty reduction strategy NEEDS, except concrite steps are taken, implementation will once again stifle life out of the programme.
Figures released by the federal ministry of Finance showed that in the first six month of the year, out of the N174.788billion bugeted for capital project in 2004, N199.585billion was released to the various ministries and parastal in which only N86.420billion was actually utilised by these ministiries for capital project implementation. This show that only 43.3 per cent of the capital project was implemented by the federal government.
A break down of the implementation profile of federal capital project allocation show that the National Assembly which half year capital project of N1.25billion got a released from the ministry of finance of the same amount and expended same in the first half of 2004. This implies that the National Assembly implemented 100 per cent its capital project allocation.
The was followed by the Federal Capital Territory which half year budget provision was N16.485billion but had N18.675billion released to it. Of the N18.675 billion it got in the first six month of 2004, N15.145billion was expended in project implementation. Power and Steel ministryt for which the nation depend so much on improvement in power supply had N33.374billion released to it in the first sin month of the year but could only utilise N18.374 billion during the period under review. Its performance in terms of implementation was just above average. The presidency itself did not fair better as it could only utilise 53.66 per cent ofr the N17.323billion released to it for capital project implementation. The Presidency had a half year budget of N10.05billion but received a cummulative warrant release of N17.323billion thus surpassing the half year budget provision.
Apart from these which performance were average all the others fell below average in budget implementation. The ministry of works which Nigerians depend so much on for road rehabilitation, performed below expectation as it only managed to utilise N16.650billion out of the over N33.874 billion released by the federal government to it. In actual fact the ministry of works got more than the half year budget provision of N23.303billion. Yet it could not move fast enough to put smiles on Nigerian faces by faithfully implementing its capital programme for the nation.
Another key ministry that waqs caught in the web of poor budget implementation was that of health.The ministry had half year budget provision of N13.205billion for which a total of N14.625billion was released and only N6.303 or 43.09 per cent was implemented or utilised. Thus leaving the hospitals in dire need of critical equipment.
According to figures released by government, Agriculture which is one of the one of the critical ministry for the poverty alleviation programme and NEEDS performed dismally as only 34.33 per cent of the resources made available to it was used in the first two quarters of 2004. The ministry had a total capital budget of N10.550billion fror 2004. Out of this a total of N8billion was released in the first half of 2004 and the nministry could only implement projects to the tune of N2.748billion. The performance of the ministry of Solid mineral development was yet another of the lack of will power to see improvement in the economy. Of the N1.2 billion cummulative warrant released to it, only N226million was utilised amounting to 18.8 per cent in budget implementation.
According available data, the 2004 budget implementation in relation to namount released to ministry show that Science and Technology utilised 13 per cent of the resources made available to it. others are, Defence:9.5 per cent; Communication 9.4 per cent; Education 7.4 per cent; Housing 4.5 per cent; Culture and Tourism 4.1 per cent; Transport 3.9 per cent and Information 0.8 per cent.
The ministry of Sportsb and Social Development was one of the least performing ministry as out of the 2004 budget of N1 billion provision a total of N1.8 billion was released for capital project for which not even one kobo was utilised.
According to the Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iwala ‚ÄúThere is clearly a need to pick up the pace of implementation of the capital budget because of its central role in driving growth, as well as because of the necessity to deliver to the Nigerian public the promises made to them under the 2004 budget. A second further reason is that this is the first budget under the NEEDS program, and its successful implementation is important as a confidence building measure.‚Äù