Debate on 2014 budget personalised, uninformed – Okonjo-Iweala

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The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday faulted the debate on the 2014 budget by some lawmakers, stating that the debate was not only personalised, but was  based on inaccurate information.

She described the development as unfortunate since majority of the factors that led to the high recurrent expenditure in this year’s budget was not her making.

The minister had within the last one week come under severe attack from lawmakers, who accused her of producing a budget that is against the interest of the country.

While some of them described the budget as “anti-people,”others, who said the budget is based on the principles of “Okonjonomics,” had called for the rejection of the fiscal document.

One of the first points made by some Senators was that she was responsible for the rising recurrent expenditure, which, according to them, rose “from 69 per cent in the 2013 budget to 76 per cent in the 2014.”

But reacting through a statement by her Special Adviser on Communications, Paul Nwabuikwu,  the minister said such comments were “inaccurate”

While acknowledging that the budget had some imperfections, which the ministry was working hard to fix, she said the large number of positives in terms of policies and resources must not be forgotten.

According to her, in addition to the N18.5bn budgeted for the housing sector, the 2014 budget would allocate about N100bn for a new mortgage refinance company that will create millions of jobs and provide affordable homes for millions of Nigerians.

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