The Senate yesterday, further extended the implementation of the capital component of the 2022 budget from March 31 to June 30, 2023.
According to him “you will recall that the National Assembly extended the implementation of the 2022 Appropriation Act from December 31, 2022 to March 31, 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 (ministries, departments and agencies) to utilise 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.“Given 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 Northeast), supported the request to extend the budget.
Suswam, however, added that the extension should be spelt out that the 2022 budget will run concurrently with the 2023 Appropriation Act.
Suswam said: “While supporting the motion moved by the Senate Leader, the 2022 Appropriation Act should run concurrently with the 2023 budget. Otherwise, it would create a gap.”
Responding, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said: “The issue you raised is not that very serious but maybe for whatever it is because it is simply over legislation.
“What the Executive is asking is to extend the life span of the implementation of the 2022 budget, and that does not in any way affect the implementation of the 2023 Budget. That is my understanding.
“If we feel that something outward could happen and we need this as a set guide then we can do that but I don’t think it is necessary.
“I want to thank my Distinguished Colleagues for giving approval to the amendment sought by the Executive arm of government.
“We have a limited number of months left. Time is of essence; we must ensure that we implement all the three Budgets now.
“These are supposed to go on pari-passu and we wish that there would be 100 per cent implementation of 2022 Appropriation Act and the Supplementary as well,” Lawan said.