Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Monday said the Federal Government had no intention to prepare another supplementary budget to provide funding for military operations in the three states that have been under emergency rule since last week.
The minister, in a statement by her Special Adviser, Communications, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, noted that a Contingency Vote had already been built into the 2013 budget to take care of emergencies such as security and the flooding that affected many parts of the country last year.
The statement explained that the minister, while speaking during a conference in her office involving 112 analysts and investment experts from across the world, said the government was taking decisive action to secure communities in the North-East affected by the activities of Boko Haram.
She explained that the intention of the government was to restore security and order that would facilitate return of enable economic activities. The state of emergency, she further explained, gave security agents the latitude to flush out insurgents from their bases.
The statement said, “Okonjo-Iweala noted that the Presidency is adopting a multi-dimensional approach which includes political dialogue, counter-terrorism tools and economic inclusion to solve the problem. At the same time, government is hoping that the return of peace will create a strong foundation to spur economic growth, particularly through agriculture, the mainstay of the region.
“While security forces do their job, the committee set up by the President on amnesty is expected to continue its work.
“The President is particularly pained that the crisis has affected education as children and teachers are afraid to go to school, which is unacceptable,” she said.
The statement quoted the minister as explaining that the Excess Crude Account had served Nigeria well in managing the price and quantity shocks that had been experienced this year just as it did during the global economic recession of 2008.
“In the first week of June, the government will also launch an effort to improve non-oil sector tax collection,” she said.
She added, “The tax rate will remain unchanged but there will be greater focus on collecting from corporate organisations that are currently not paying taxes.
Asked about her priority for the financial sector, Okonjo-Iweala stated that government was concerned about financial inclusion whereby Small and Medium Enterprises could have access to funds.
“Measures are also in place to encourage more listing in the capital market,” she added.