Finance Ministry uncovers plot to deceive Nigerians on 2014 Budget

Posted by News Express | 20 January 2014 | 3,593 times

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Nigeria’s Finance Ministry this evening drew public attention to what it called a deliberate attempt by a propagandist group to deceive Nigerians on the focus and objectives of the 2014 Budget.

In a statement issued in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, Paul C Nwabuikwu, Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, alerted Nigerians on “a critical email against Budget 2014 being circulated by a group which calls itself the Rule of Law Collective.” Nwabuikwu described the email as “a propaganda ploy designed to hoodwink Nigerians,” saying: “It is not the objective commentary that it claims to be.

“It was first circulated late yesterday, January 19, and resurrected this afternoon with a message urging Nigerians not to believe what the Coordinating Minister and Minister of Finance said during her well received presentation on the Budget Breakdown.

“The intention of the group is to scuttle any good news about the budget because they perceive any positive as being against their interests.

“But it is clear that Budget 2014 is designed to make progress on the areas which Nigerians are most passionate about: Power supply, security, job creation, agriculture, roads, rail and other infrastructure. The fact that the Collective ignores this shows how prejudiced and subjective they are.”

Nwabuikwu drew attention to Okonjo-Iweala’s budget presentation “which addresses the issues brought up by the group.”

“For instance,” he said, “the issue of high recurrent and low capital budget is a long standing one which can be traced to the 53% increase in the salaries of civil servants which was implemented some years ago as well as other related increases for various segments of the public service. The largest chunk of recurrent is salaries and emoluments. The efforts of the government to address the issue must be appreciated against this background. There is no magic wand to address this issue because you cannot just wake up and sack civil servants because there are people and families involved and you must think through the implications.”

Nwabuikwu nevertheless thanked the Collective “for raising some pertinent questions about the budget which is transparent and readily available, their negative motives notwithstanding.” He added: “We would be ready to sit down with their representatives to discuss any genuine issues they might have.

“But the surreptitious way they have gone about their mission speaks volumes about their partisan motives.”

•Photo shows Okonjo-Iweala.

Source: News Express

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