The Senate on Tuesday extended the implementation of the 2021 Appropriation Act from 31st March to 31st May 2022.
The extension was approved following the consideration of a bill to amend the 2021 Appropriation Act sponsored by Senate Leader, Senator Yayah Abdullahi (Kebbi North).
The Senate, before considering the bill, suspended Rule 78(1) of the Senate Standing Orders 2022 (as amended), to enable the Upper Chamber to expeditiously introduce and pass the bill.
The bill was given accelerated first, second and third reading and subsequently passed after the suspension of Rule 78(1) of the Senate Standing Orders.
Senator Abdullahi, in his lead debate, recalled that prior Appropriation Acts in the past were passed mid-year with their implementation usually extended to the following year.
The Kebbi North Senator 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 comes into effect.
He, however, observed on the contrary that Clause 12 of the provisions of Section 318 of the Constitution provides that the 12 month period starts from the 1st day of January to 31st day of December, 2021.
He recalled that the 2021 Appropriation Act was amended to extend the implementation year from 31st December, 2021 to 31st March, 2022.
He explained that the extension of the budget period became imperative in view of the need to complete ongoing projects nearing completion.
According to him: “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 percent release of the 2021 Capital Budget of the MDAs.
“A significant portion of the releases to the MDAs has been utilized 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.