The Senate, on Wednesday, approved the extension of the capital aspect of the 2020 budget implementation to March 31, 2021.
The three-month extension followed the passage of a bill to amend the Appropriation Act 2020 to extend the implementation year to March 2021.
The Act runs for a period of 12 months, starting from the January 1 to December 31, 2020.
But Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), who sponsored the bill, said the 2020 Capital Budget implementation has progressed at a slow speed due mainly to the unforeseen prolonged lockdown occasioned by COVID-19.
“As a result of the above, most MDAs are projected to have huge unutilized balances of as much as 70% of their Capital releases by the expiration of the 2020 Appropriation Act by 31st December, 2020 hence the need to extend the implementation year of 2020 Appropriation Act from the 1st January, 2020 to 31st march, 2021,” he said.
Abdullahi, who is also the Senate Leader, urged the lawmakers to support the bill to allow for full utilization of the capital releases in order to help reflate the economy that is currently in recession.
Meanwhile, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has announced that the Senate will next week Monday, 21st of December, 2020, hold a special session to pass the 2021 budget presently before the National Assembly.
Lawan made this known during plenary following a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC – Kebbi North); and seconded by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP – Abia South).
According to the Senate President, the delay in the passage of the budget was to allow the appropriations Committee include a late request for additional expenditures from the executive arm of government.
“Our Committee on Appropriation has been working round the clock. We had planned to receive the report of the Committee on Appropriations today, but there was a late request for some more expenditures from the Executive arm of Government, and we want to ensure that our Committee does work to produce a clean document, so they can’t present this document today.
“However, the Committee has said the report will be ready by weekend. Consequently, we will hold a special session on Monday, the 21st of December, 2020, just to consider and pass the budget 2021.
“This is in keeping with our legislative agenda of ensuring that the annual budget has a January to December cycle. We did that last year, and by the grace of God, we will do it again,” Lawan said.
The Senate also stepped down consideration of the Conference Committee Report 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The request to step down consideration of the 2021 – 2023 MTEF report till Thursday, 17th December, 2020 was moved by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; and seconded by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.