NIGERIA: How to balance capital recurrent votes, by Okonjo-Iweala

ABUJA—Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that the only way to increase the capital vote of the federal government was to implement the report of the Steve Oronsaye Committee on harmonization of federal government agencies. 
Speaking at the Budget2014 Jam with Nigerian youths in Abuja yesterday, she said that the option was a tough one that required public support.
According to her the government could only implement the recommendations of the committee with the backing of the public because those whose interests would not be served by so doing would likely protest.
Her words, “to improve the capital recurrent ratio quickly and significantly, one of the measures to be considered is to implement the Oronsaye report. But this won’t be easy because there will be protests by some Nigerians who feel that their interests will not be served by merging agencies which are duplication functions. Strong public support will be needed”.
The Oronsaye committee recommended the merger of federal government agencies that are performing similar functions and the scrapping of those that are considered irrelevant.
Dr. Okonjo Iweala counselled against politicization of the budget, saying that the budget proposal before the legislature has many merits and has been crafted to sustain the transformation agenda of the present administration.
She urged those criticising the budget to always take a holistic view of the proposals especially with regard to  job creation and creating a more favourable environment for economic activities to thrive in the nation.
On the new contributory pensions scheme, she said that over N3trn has been accumulated and would be effectively deployed to boost critical sectors of the economy.
According to her, “the new scheme is working very well. The challenge is the old defined benefits scheme which has witnessed delays and fraud. Some people are being prosecuted for various acts of fraud.
“But to ensure that there is a sustainable solution to the problem, the Pensions Transition Administration Dept, is being set up to address abuses through biometrics and better monitoring. Government is taking this very seriously because a situation where our senior citizens are put through this kind of ordeal after serving the nation is  unacceptable”.
She said the new department has already started correcting past errors and expressed administration’s commitment fully sanitise the nation’s pension administration.

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