Senate to pass 2021 Budget on Monday Dec.21

*Extents 2020 Budget Implementation to March 31,2021

By Ignatius Okorocha

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.

This is even as the Upper chamber, has extended the implementation of 2020 Capital budget to March 31,2021 after amending the 2020 Appropriation Act that stipulates implementation of the budget from January 1st to December 31,2020.

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.

Meanwhile, the Senate on Wednesday extended the implementation of capital component of the 2020 budget to March 31, 2021 to provide for full execution of capital projects captured in the 2020 budget.

Leader of the Senate, Sen. Abdullahi Yahaya Abubakar ( Kebbi North) had introduced a Bill for an Act to amend the Appropriation Act 2020 in order to extend the implementation year from the 31,2020 and led debate for the second reading of the Bill.

Given the urgency associated with the amendment of the appropriation Bill to give legal backing for extention of implementation of the Act beyond December 2020, the Senate had to set aside certain portions of its rules to fast track its final passage.

Fielding questions from Journalists on the speedy passage of the bill, Spokesman of the Senate, Sen. Bashiru Surajudeen Ajibola( APC,Osun Central) said implementation of the capital budget is between 75 to 100%.

Adding,” in that regard, within the remaining period of this year will not allow for the full utilization of funds already released.

“And typically, what is used to be done is that the implementation will stop by December 31 and that will mean that the fund already released will have to be mopped but in order to ensure fuller implementation of the 2020 budget which we believe is very critical to stimulate the economy.”

Continuing he said,”Senate today made a slight amendment to section 12 of the Appropriation Act to permit the implementation of the capital aspect of 2020 appropriation Act till the end of March 2021.

“That does not, and will not affect the passage of 2021 appropriation Act. It does not also affect the implementation of 2021 Act. What we have done is to ensure that we use the power given us by the section 4 of the 1999 constitution to make law for the country for the good of the people of this country to ensure that the benefits of the implementation of the capital aspect of the 2020 appropriation Act is not loss on Nigeria.

“The effect of Covid 19, that ravage the global economy would have hard devastating effect on Nigeria had it not been that the National Assembly decided to revise the budget cycle to January- December. But for the timely intervention 2020 budget passage.

“The bill has passed first, second and third reading and will be awaiting concurrent passage at the House ofRepresentatives.”

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