The Senate has extended the implementation of the 2021 Appropriation Act from March 31 to May 31, 2022.
The Upper Chamber gave approval for the budget extension after examining a bill to Amend the 2021 Appropriation Act.
Presenting the bill during Tuesday’s plenary session, Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi, said the extension of the budget period is necessary to ensure that ongoing projects are completed.
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He also explained that that Appropriation Acts in the past were passed mid-year, with their implementation usually extended to the following year and these extensions are covered by a Clause, in line with the provisions of Section 318 of the Constitution, that the Act runs for a period of 12 months, starting from the date it comes into effect.
Abdullahi said that the extension of the budget period became necessary in order to complete projects close to completion.
“As you are aware, the 2021 virement of the aggregate sum of N276 billion was approved for several MDAs by the National Assembly in December 2021 along with 100 per cent release of the 2021 Capital Budget of the MDAs,” he said.
“A significant portion of the releases to the MDAs has been utilised following the extension to March 31.
“In view of the critical importance of some key projects nearing completion, it is expedient to grant further extension of the expiration clause.
“This is 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 to May 31.”
Industrial park bill
Meanwhile a bill for an Act to establish the National Industrial Technology Park as a mechanism for clustering of knowledge and innovation-based industrial parks formations in Nigeria scaled the second reading in the Senate on Tuesday.
This followed a debate on the bill sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Senator Amosun, in his lead debate, explained that the bill targeted economic development, youth empowerment, and capacity building.
He added that the industrial park, when established, would be an avenue for Nigerian entrepreneurs to converge and showcase their ideas and creativity, thereby reducing unemployment and restiveness in the country.
Senator Ajayi Borrofice, in his contribution, believes the bill will help the country diversify its economy from a monolithic one that is oil-dependent.
”One example of this Industrial Park is the Silicon Valley in California, USA,” he said. “California is richer than the richest states combined because of the industrial activities of the Silicon Valley.
“If we can achieve this industrial park and back it up with the law, it will help us. The industrial park will help the start-ups to have an environment where they can contribute to the development of the country.”
For Senator Barau Jibrin, the proposed legislation will help Nigeria to be fully industrialised and achieve its long-term objectives in terms of industrialisation.
“I urge my colleagues to support this bill to bring full-scale industrialisation to this country,” he submitted.
Presiding over the plenary, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, commended Senator Amosun for sponsoring the bill.
He, however, stressed the need for the government to create a secure environment for such a goal to be actualised to encourage investors into the country.
“We need to ensure that we provide a better security environment because if we are going to establish a national industrial park, it means accommodating more resources; we don’t have those resources that we need in our country,” the lawmaker said.
“We have to work together across all the levels of government to ensure we create and sustain a better security environment that will encourage investors.”
Thereafter, the bill was read the second time and referred to the Senate Committee on Trade and Investment to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.