Nigeria cash-strapped, AG, DG Budget tell NASS

Dr Bright Okogwu

Questions on the current state of Nigeria economy resonated at the National Assembly yesterday with answers from the Director-General of Budget Office of the Federation, Dr. Bright Okogwu and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, that though Nigeria is not broke but is currently cash strapped.
Okogwu and Otunla made the submissions to the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance yesterday at the National Assembly, during consideration of the 2012-2014 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) earlier forwarded to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan, preparatory to the 2014 budget presentation in November.

Responding to questions fired at them by the Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi on whether Nigeria is broke or not, Otunla said “Nigeria is not broke but is currently having cash flow problems.”
Ditto for Okogwu, who said though, the nation currently experiences cash flow problems from time to time, it does not suggest that it is broke.

“Nigeria is not broke. We may have cash flow problem. But countries like Greek and Spain are broke. They are now approaching their international neighbours for bail- out but Nigeria has not done that and we are nowhere near that situation at all,” he explained.
The Central Bank deputy governor, Mrs. Maria Alade, who represented the governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, at the joint sitting though was somewhat evasive on the question when put to her but said since AGF and the DG Budget have answered that Nigeria is not broke, that was also the position of CBN.

“As bankers of the Federal Government, it is not our duty to tell the nation whether she is broke or not but we can tell her the amount she has in accounts at anytime but since AGF and DG Budget have clearly declared that Nigeria is not broke, we in CBN also believe so,” Alade explained.

Meanwhile, President Jonathan, through a letter dated October 23, 2013, has requested the National Assembly to grant him the slot of 12.00 noon on Tuesday, November 12, 2013, for presentation of the 2014 budget
President of the Senate, David Mark, read the letter, titled: 2014 Budget and dated October 23, 2013, at the floor of the Senate.
The letter reads: “I write to crave your kind indulgence to grant me the slot 12:00 noon on Thursday, 12 November, 2013, to enable me formally address a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2014 Budget.

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