Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will on Thursday, break the long silence that trailed the signing of the 2013 Budget into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The coordinating minister has thus far kept mum over the breakdown of the budget as is the usually trend despite that the budget was signed since Tuesday last week.
However, a statement from her Special Adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, made available to LEADERSHIP at the weekend indicated that the minster, along with the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Bright Okogu, would address the media on the signed budget come Thursday.
"The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala along with the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Bright Okogu and other top officials of the ministry will address a media briefing on the recently signed Budget 2013," Nwabuikwu said in the statement.
Incidentally, both Okonjo-Iweala and the Okogu were among the few government officials present during the secret signing of the budget last week. Both of them had also refused to make any comment later as the presidency opted to announce the signing of the budget through the issuance of a press statement, which is a rarity in government.
The 2013 budget has sparked off so much disagreement between the executive and the National Assembly. Among the areas of disagreement between the executive and the legislature are the inclusion of constituency projects in the budget and the provision of zero allocation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Despite the efforts put in place by the executive to ensure an early passage of the 2013, the appropriation bill was not signed into law until last week, and even at that, the signing is believed to be merely ceremonial to prevent the National Assembly from overriding the presidential veto. Moreso, it is believed that the budget cannot be implemented as it is, until it has been returned to the National Assembly for alteration.
The President signed the budget in secret, defying the known tradition of previous years when it was done in full public glare, fuelling suspicion that the budget may not have been signed. Failure of the Finance Ministry to make available a breakdown of the signed budget unlike in the past when details of the signed budget were readily available also sparked more controversy.