;l-r;President Muhammadu Buhari (left), President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt (Hon.) Femi Gbajabiamila, during the 2020 Budget presentation by the President at the National Assembly

Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday pledged the commitment of the Senate to passing the 2021 budget, at a special session to be held on Monday.

The Senate also passed the request from President Muhammadu Buhari seeking to extend the duration of the implementation of the 2020 capital projects to March 31, 2021.

Lawan spoke following a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC – Kebbi North), and seconded by the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP – Abia South).

According to him, the delay in the passage of the budget was to allow the Committee on Appropriations to include a late request for additional expenditures from the executive in the budget.

Lawan said: “Our Committee on Appropriations 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 expenditure 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 the 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.”

The Senate yesterday also stepped down consideration of the Conference Committee Report 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

The request to step down the consideration of the 2021– 2023 MTEF report till today was moved by Abdullahi and seconded by Abaribe.

The Senate also passed an executive communication from the president seeking to extend the implementation of the capital components of the 2020 budget from December 31, 2020, to March 31, 2021.

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

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

Lawan, after the approval, assured Nigerians that the development did not alter the January to December budget cycle.

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