The Senate yesterday amended the 2021 Appropriation Act, extending the implementation year of the 2021 Act from March 31 to May 31. In line with its legislative process, the Senate suspended Rule 78(1) of the Senate Standing Orders 2022 (as amended) to enable the Chamber to introduce and pass the bill.
The bill sponsored by the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, was read on Tuesday for the first, second and third time after the suspension of Rule 78(1). While leading the debate on the bill, Abdullahi, recalled that Appropriation Acts in the past were passed mid-year, with their implementation usually extended to the following year.
He said in previous AppropriationActs, theseextensions were usually covered by a clause, in line with the provisions of Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution that the Act runs for a period of 12 months, starting from the date it comes into effect.
The lawmaker, however, observed on the contrary that Clause 12 of the provisions of Section 318 of the Constitution provided that the 12 month period should start from January 1 to December 31, 2021. Recall that the 2022 Appropriation Act was 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. He said: “As you are aware, the 2021 virement of the ag- 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 March 31, 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 March 31, 2022, to May 31, 2022.”
Meanwhile, a total of three bills on Tuesday scaled second reading on the floor. The bills seek to establish the National Industrial Technology Park; the Federal College of Agriculture Ise-Orin, Ekiti State; and Federal University of Agriculture Ogoja, Cross River State.
The bills were sponsored by Senators Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun Central), Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South) and Agom Jarigbe (Cross River North).