The Senate will hold a special session on Monday to pass the 2021 Appropriation bill.
This is outside its normal legislative days which runs from Tuesdays to Thursdays.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, made the announcement during plenary on Wednesday. He said 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,” he said.
The N13.08 trillion budget was presented to a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in October, after which budget defence sessions were held to enable ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to defend their 2020 budget performance as well as 2021 budget proposals.
The Senate also stepped down consideration of the Conference Committee Report on the 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The request to step down consideration of the 2021 – 2023 MTEF report till Thursday was moved by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi.
In the same vein, the lawmakers passed a bill to amend the 2020 Appropriation Act to extend the implementation of its capital aspects.
Although the budget is meant to run from January to December, the bill seeks to extend it to March 31, 2021.
Mr Yahaya, who sponsored the bill, said the extension is as a result of COVID-19 lockdown.
Most MDAs, he said, are yet to spend the allocations meant for 2020 because most public officers were equally observing the lockdown.
The Senate also amended section 12 of the Act to include a proviso.
“Section 12 is hereby amended by adding a proviso towith: Provided that the implementation of the capital expenditure in the Appropriation act 2021 shall lapse on the 31st March, 2021″ – to ensure that expenditures done in 2020 are sustained in the act.”
‘Proviso’ is a Latin word that gives an exception or condition to an agreement or statement.
Section 12 of the act reads: “In line with the provisions of Section 318 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this act expires after 12 months, starting from 1st January to 31st December, 2020 when assented to.”
The bill was given accelerated passage as it went through first, second and third reading on Wednesday.
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