The Senate yesterday extended the implementation of the 2021 budget from March 31 to May 31, 2022, following a consideration of a bill to amend the 2021 Appropriation Act.
To consider the bill, the legislators suspended Rule 78(1) of standing order 2022 (as amended) to introduce and pass the bill.
The bill, sponsored by senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, was read during plenary for the first, second, and third time after the suspension of Rule 78(1).
According to Abdullahi, if the Appropriation Act was passed mid-year, its implementation usually extended to the following year, adding, “these extensions were usually covered by a clause.”
He also noted that “The clause is in line with the provisions of section 318 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that the Act runs for a period of 12 months, starting from the date it comes into effect,” usually January 1 to December 31.
Therefore, the 2022 Appropriation Act was amended to extend its implementation beyond December 31, 2021, to March 31, 2022, which became imperative because of the need to complete ongoing projects.
A significant portion of the releases to the MDAs has been utilised following the extension to March 31. In view of the critical importance of some key projects nearing completion, it is expedient to grant further extension of the expiration clause.
Abdullahi continued: “As you are aware, the 2021 virement of the aggregate sum of N276 billion was approved for several MDAs by the National Assembly in December 2021 along with 100% release of the 2021 capital budget of the MDAs.
“A significant portion of the releases to the MDAs has been utilised following the extension to March 31. In view of the critical importance of some key projects nearing completion, it is expedient to grant further extension of the expiration clause.
“This is to avoid compounding the problem of abandoned projects given that some of the projects were not provided for in the 2022 budget hence the need to extend the implementation year from March 31 to May 31.”