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Senate extends 2021 budget implementation to May 31

By John Akubo and Msugh Ityokura, Abuja
06 April 2022   |   4:17 am
The Senate, yesterday, extended implementation of the 2021 Appropriation Act from March 31 to May 31, 2022. The scarcity of diesel affected some of the capital projects captured in the budget...
Nigeria Senate

National Assembly. Photo/facebook/TopeBrown/NigerianSenate

Orders halt to lifting of crude over tax default

The Senate, yesterday, extended implementation of the 2021 Appropriation Act from March 31 to May 31, 2022. The scarcity of diesel affected some of the capital projects captured in the budget, as most of the earthmoving equipment could not be deployed to site.

The extension got the upper legislative chamber’s approval following the consideration of a bill to amend the 2021 Appropriation Act.

The Senate, before considering the bill, suspended Rule 78(1) of its Standing Orders 2022 (as amended) to enable it expeditiously introduce and pass the bill.

The bill was read yesterday for the first, second and third times after the suspension of Rule 78(1). The bill was sponsored by Senate Leader, Senator Yayah Abdullahi (Kebbi North).

Leading debate on the bill, Abdullahi recalled that prior Appropriation Acts were passed mid-year, with their implementation usually extended to the following year.

The lawmaker noted that in previous Appropriation Acts, these extensions were shielded by a clause, in line with provisions of Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) that the Act runs for 12 months, starting from the date it comes into effect.

He noted that on the contrary, Clause 12 of Section 318 of the Constitution provides that the 12-month period started from January 1 to December 31, 2021.

Abdullahi recalled that the 2022 Appropriation Act was amended to extend the implementation year from December 31, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

He explained that the extension became imperative in view of the need to complete ongoing projects nearing completion. His words: “As you are aware, the 2021 virement of the aggregate sum of N276 billion was approved for several Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by the National Assembly in December 2021 along with 100 per cent release of the 2021 capital budget of the MDAs.

“A significant portion of the releases to the MDAs has been utilised following the extension to March 31, 2022.”
The bill was, thereafter, passed sequel to its consideration by the Senate Committee on Supply.

BESIDES, the Senate Committee on Finance ordered the Federal Government to prevail on the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to stop foreign companies lifting crude oil without paying tax to halt operations until they remit to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Speaking when the commission’s Chief Executive Officer, Gbenga Komolafe, appeared in an interactive session with the committee on revenue losses in the maritime sector, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC: Lagos West) stated that from preliminary findings, “there is need for serious back duty investigations of all foreign companies whose oil tankers are lifting Nigerian crude oil in relation to their compliance with tax obligations according to extant laws of the land.”

He continued: “The committee is directing your commission to stop all companies lifting crude oil from Nigeria until they show evidence of tax payment, as they are mandated by law to pay. Alternatively, the companies can do payment based on estimates to continue to lift Nigeria’s crude oil pending a time when proper reconciliation will be done on their tax liabilities in the last 10 years of operation.”

ALSO yesterday, the House of Representatives warned of a pending crisis due to the rising price of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and the negative multiplier it portends for the nation’s economy.

The Green Chamber noted that almost all businesses and households in Nigeria depend on diesel-powered generators as an alternative source of electricity.

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