From Fred Itua, Abuja
The senate has extended the implementation year for the 2021 Appropriation Act from March 31 to May 31, 2022.
The extension was approved following the consideration of a bill to Amend the 2021 Appropriation Act.
The senate had to suspend Rule 78(1) of its Standing Orders 2022 (as amended) to enable it expeditiously introduce and pass the bill.
The bill was read, yesterday, for this first, second and third time after the suspension of Rule 78(1). The bill was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yayah Abdullahi (Kebbi North).
Leading the debate on the bill, Abdullahi, recalled that until recently, Appropriation Acts in the past were passed mid-year, with their implementation usually extended to the following year.
The lawmaker, noted that in previous Appropriation Acts, these extensions were usually covered by a clause 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 came into effect.
He, however, observed that on the contrary, clause 12 of the provisions of Section 318 of the constitution provides that the 12 month period starts from January 1 to December 31, 2021.
He recalled that the 2022 Appropriation Act, was, however, amended to extend the implementation year from December 31, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
Abdullahi, explained that the extension of the budget period became imperative in view of the need to complete ongoing projects nearing completion.
Said Abdullahi: “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 per cent 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 31st March, 2022. In view of the critical importance of some key projects nearing completion, it is expedient to grant further extension of the expiration clause 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 form 31 March, 2022 to 31st May, 2022.”
The bill to amend the 2021 Appropriation Act was, thereafter, passed sequel to its consideration by the Committee on Supply.