FG May Shut Down In September -- Okonjo-Iweala

The minister of finance and the coordinating minister for the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has warned that economic activities may be shut down and the federal government unable to pay its workforce by September if government failed to resolve the lingering problems with the 2013 Appropriation Act.
President Goodluck Jonathan forwarded a bill amending the earlier 2013 budget of N4.987 trillion to the National Assembly four months ago, an action the lawmakers are not favourably disposed to. Rather, the National Assembly is asking the presidency, through correspondence that was communicated to the Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office of the Federation sometime in June, to immediately commence work on the 2014 Appropriation Bill.
Speaking in a radio programme tagged ?Political Platform? on Ray Power FM, Okonjo-Iweala stated that though the situation did not seem too bad, the country?s economic activities might ground to a halt as government might fail to live up to its economic obligations to the people.
In the programme monitored in Lagos, the minister also denied speculations in some quarters that the country is broke, saying the country is rather witnessing financial cash flow that is not too serious.
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.?
Stating that the executive arm of government was employing dialogue and consultation with the National Assembly on the issue, the minister added that N46billion would be utilised for payment of salaries.
According to her, the main issue relates to a differential in moneys 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.

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