Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala yesterday told the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation that Nigeria was in dire need of diversifying its economy away from oil to other sectors in view of plummeting oil earnings.
Also, the John Enoh-led Appropriation committee queried the rationale behind the finance minister’s selective releases of funds to Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
These were fallouts of the finance minister’s 2012 budget implementation defence before the Lower House Appropriation committee.
“I can tell you that for instance, Ministry of Water Resources got an allocation of N70billion but got just about N10billion. Likewise the Ministry of Land and Housing, out of N42billion allocated to it, only N6billion was released.
“On the other hand, Ministry of Niger Delta got 50 per cent of its allocation as well as other ones. The question is what can be responsible for that. One is worried because reports get to us from our Standing Committees that there are so many ongoing projects that these MDAs can utilise their funds on”. The Appropriation committee chairman said.
On the state of the economy, the finance minister in her presentation said the country was not isolated from pervading global economic uncertainties.
Okonjo-Iweala said Nigeria’s oil dominance and earnings were increasingly being threatened by new oil discoveries in other African countries. “Competition is emerging, we will not be the only game in town”
“We are watching the performance of the economy in the context of what is happening globally. I think that we have to work really hard in Nigeria on the implementation side.
The uncertainties in the global environment continue. We are seeing contraction of the growth of the Eurozone, slower growth in the US, some countries in the Eurozone undergoing severe stress with regard to Spain, Greece even Italy. They are making changes in their economy, but it is going slowly’’.