“Budgets are usually fixed by January each year”

I would seem to me that the key element in this BBC report is

The Executive has not yet agreed the overall NI budget for departments. Budgets are usually fixed by January each year.

And if UTV Live’s Jamie Delargy was right earlier this week, and he usually is, the Executive’s failure to agree a budget centres on a stand-off between the Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, and Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy over the final determination on NI Water’s Price Control 2010-2013 (PC10) Update According to a UTV-hosted PA report

… a senior executive source said all issues had now been resolved. “Ministers have held a series of discussions over the last few days and an agreement on the budget has now been reached,” he said.