The federal government yesterday formally commenced the implementation of the 2013 budget with the release of N400 billion to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for execution of first quarter capital projects.

Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who made this known yesterday, said the release was to give fresh impetus to the execution of projects captured in 2013 budget.

The minister had hinted last week that the implementation of the 2013 budget would take-off after the monthly Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting this week.

A statement from the Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance, Paul  Nwabuikwu, however noted that N120 billion, out of the N400 billion released had been frontloaded to cater for two important initiatives namely-  N75 billion for retiring bonds which have come due and N45 billion for the payment of PHCN workers.

She said that the provision made for retiring matured bonds was in line with the new debt management strategy which focuses on reducing the stock and flow of debt in a proactive manner. Recall that the total of N1.62 trillion was  budgeted for capital expenditure in the 2013 budget, higher than the N1.3 trillion budgeted in 2012.

The federal government said it was committed to the development of critical economic and social sectors  in the 2013 budget by making substantial capital allocations to security, critical infrastructure and human capital development in the fiscal year.