The Federal Government may extend the implementation of capital projects components in the 2021 Appropriation Act till next year following the inability of many ministries and agencies to conclude their procurement process until the last quarter of this year.
Many heads of the MDAs who appeared before the various Senate standing committees for their 2021 budget performances, blamed their inability to execute their capital projects to the outright ban placed on procurement process from January to May 31.
Specifically, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told the Senate Committee on the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency that the Federal Government issued a circular to delay the implementation of capital components in the 2021 budget till May 31, this year.
He said, “FERMA, like other MDAs got circulars that delayed and deferred commencement of the implementation of the 2021 budget till May 31.
“In order to get a clear picture of the delay in procurement, the committee should begin its reckoning from June.
“This means that the budget has run essentially for five months in real time this year, not for 11 months.”
Investigations by our correspondent who monitored the budget defence sessions of the MDAs at the various Senate panels indicated that most of them did not achieve up to 70 per cent implementation of their capital projects, one month to the end of the year.
Reacting to the development in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, confirmed the development.
He, however said the Federal Government circular was issued based on the poor implementation of the capital components of the 2020 budget, occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the National Assembly would appraise the situation again this year to see whether the implementation of the 2021 budget could be extended to next year since funds had been released for the projects execution.
Jibrin said, “We went through the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 and the development created a lot of problems. Funds were released to the MDAs but they were not able to do anything because of lockdown.
“At the end of the day, the government extended the implementation of 2020 capital budget to 2021.
“This affected the 2021 budget because the implementation of the capital projects for 2022 did not start early because of the situation last year.
“Funds had been released for the implementation of capital projects for this year and work had started in earnest.
“We will, however, look at the situation. Whatever is necessary we will do it in a way that would allow for free flow of the process for the implementation of capital projects.
“We are working with the executive on that. We would look at all the factors. We will consult with the executive and find the best way possible to utilise the money realised if they had not been expended before the end of the year.”