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Senate approves extension of 2020 budget to March 2021

Adewale Nurudeen

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Senate approves extension of 2020 budget to March 2021

The Senate has approved an executive communication from President Muhammadu Buhari seeking the extension of the implementation of the capital components of the 2020 budget from December 31, 2020, to March 31, 2021.

Buhari, through his Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had in a letter to the National Assembly on Tuesday requested the extension to enable the executive to implement the capital component of the budget.

The President had said the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the ministries, department, and agencies of government from implementing capital aspects of the budget.

The lawmakers amended section 12 of the 2020 Appropriation Act by adding a provision that the implementation of the capital component of the 2020 budget is extended to March 2021 meaning that the two proposed fiscal documents, when signed into law, would run concurrently.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, after the approval, assured Nigerians that the development did not alter the January to December budget cycle of budget implementation.

The Senate explained that it decided to extend the implementation of the capital components of the 2020 budget till March to ensure proper utilisation of the funds already disbursed to the MDAs.

The Spokesperson for the Senate, Dr. Ajibola Basiru, who gave the explanation at a press briefing on Wednesday added that both 2020 and 2021 budgets would run concurrently.

Meanwhile, Lawan announced on Wednesday that the Senate would on Monday next week hold a special session to consider and pass the 2021 budget currently being put together by the National Assembly committees on appropriations.

Lawan made this known during plenary following a motion by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, and seconded by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

The Senate President said the delay in the approval of the budget was to allow the appropriations committee to accommodate a late request for additional expenditures from the executive arm of government.