By Henry Umoru, ABUJA
The Senate has extended the implementation of the capital component of the 2022 budget from 31st March 2023 to 30th June 2023.
The extension yesterday by the Senate was a sequel to a lead debate by the Senate leader, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, APC, Sokoto East requesting the upper chamber for the amendment of the Appropriation act 2022.
The Senate leader explained that the extension will enable the government to implement key projects in the capital component of the 2022 budget and allow for the completion of ongoing projects critical to the current administration.
The two sponsored bills were: Bill for an Act to amend the 2022 Appropriation Act and Bill for an Act to amend the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act.
The Senate relaxed its standing rules to grant accelerated consideration and approval to enable it to read the Bill for the first, second and third time before its passage.
In his presentation, Senator Gobir who noted that the bills seek to amend the 2022 appropriation act and 2022 supplementary appropriation act to extend the implementation year from March 31 to June 30, said that the National Assembly had extended the implementation of the 2022 appropriation Act from Dec 31, 2022, to March 31, 2023.
According to him, this is to allow for full implementation of the budget, given the approval of the supplementary budget approved in December 2022.
He said that the extension had allowed Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) to use a large proportion of funds released to them, adding that a significant amount of funds remained with MDAs and would require a further extension to be fully extended.
Gobir who noted that given the critical importance of some key projects nearing completion, request for further extension of the expiration clause in the appropriation act, said that the long title explanatory memorandum of the supplementary appropriation act was expedient.
This, he said was to avoid compounding the problem of abandoned projects, given that some of the projects were not provided for in the 2023 budget, just as he urged the Senators to support the bill to allow for full utilisation of capital release to help reflate the economy.
The Senate Leader said, ” you will recall that the National Assembly extended the implementation of the 2022 Appropriation Act from 31st December 2022 to 31st March 2023.
” This was to allow full implementation of the budget, especially in the light of the 2022 Supplementary budget approved in December 2022 the extension had allowed MDAs to utilize a large proportion of funds released to them. However, significant amounts of funds remain with MDAs and will require a further extension to be fully expended.
” Giving the critical importance of some key projects nearing completion, requesting a further extension of the expiration clause in the Appropriation ( Amendment) Act, 2022 and the Long Title and Explanatory Memorandum of the Supplementary Appropriation Act is expedient to avoid compounding the problem of abandoned projects, given that some of the projects were not provided for in the 2023 Budget”.
In his contribution, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue North East) who supported the request to extend the budget, said that it should be spelt out that the 2022 budget will run concurrently with the 2023 Appropriation Act.
The Senate later dissolved into “Committee of Supply” to consider the report before it eventually approved and passed the request to extend the life of the 2022 budget till June 30th, 2023.
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