The Nigerian Senate made history once again on Wednesday by passing the 2023 national budget of about N21.8 trillion in record time and for the fourth time.
Based on the request of the Executive, the Senate approved an extension of the expiration clause of both the 2022 Appropriation Act and the Supplementary Budget to 31st March, 2023 so as to give room for full capital releases as contained in the two Appropriations.
The leader of Senate, Ibrahim Gobir, explained that: “In view of the critical importance of some key projects nearing completion, it is expected to grant the extension of the expiration clause to avoid compounding the problems of abandoned projects, given that some of the projects were not provided for in the 2023 budget.”
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks, after the passage of the budget and other businesses slated for the special sitting, congratulated the Senators and the National Assembly in general for keeping to the promise made with respect to the budget cycle.
Mr Lawan said to his colleagues: “Congratulations to this senate, and let me commend all of us in the ninth Senate for promising and delivering on our promise. From 2019, we promised to reverse the undesirable budget cycle of where we wouldn’t know, to what is known, January To December.
“This is our fourth budget and our last before the expiration of our tenure; and we have kept to that promise. I want to take this opportunity to urge the executive arm of government to implement the 2022 appropriation Act. We have also passed the Supplementary Budget for 2022.
“We expect total implementation. No selective implementation. It should be total because this has been what this administration has always tried to do since we came in 2019, and therefore, the country and the people are better for it that the budgets are implemented.
“Let me also commend the senate and indeed the National Assembly for the innovation, together with the executive arm of government, of passing Finance Bill which always guide the implementation of the appropriations that we pass.
“Previously, that was not the practice. I’m sure this is a worthwhile, very rewarding practice and it will continue. We have stood down the consideration of the Ways and Means Restructure. We did so as a Senate, as a body, because we didn’t get the kind of information that we consider necessary as important for us to take a major decision as this, without any let or hindrance.
“We have set up a special committee headed by the Senate Leader and in the membership, you have the committees of Finance, Appropriation, Foreign and Local Debts and Banking to collect all the necessary information.
“And I want to use this opportunity to urge the executive arm of government, especially those agencies that will be invited to appear before this special committee, to cooperate by bringing the right kind of information that we need to be guided properly,”
The senate is adjourned till January 17, 2023.