By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Senate yesterday acceded to the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for the extension of the implementation of N114 billion 2015 Federal Capital Territory (FCT) capital budget to March 31, 2016.
While moving the motion for second reading of the extension bill, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, recalled that 2015 FCT Appropriation Bill was passed on May 28, 2015, a situation he said gave room for only seven months of implementation.
He said approving the president’s request had become imperative if FCT must measure up to its obligations to reposition the capital city.
According to him, the implementation of 2015 FCT budget as at December 31, stood at only 40 per cent. Hence, he said the request for extension of the bill was a right step in the right direction.
After passing the extension bill, Senate President Bukola Saraki raised a conference committee to harmonise its figures with the House of Representatives.
Buhari had in a letter read by Saraki on February 23, 2016, requested for the extension of the budget, citing delay in the commencement of its implementation as the reason for the request.
The letter read: “I am writing to seek the senate’s approval to extend the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) 2015 Statutory Appropriation Act to 31 March 2016. You may recall that the 2015 FCT Appropriation was assented to by my predecessor on the 28th of May, 2015.
“The delay affected its implementation in respect of capital projects and other expenditures. In this connection, numerous payments for critical and essential projects are outstanding.
“In view of the foregoing, the Senate is invited to note: the FCT 2015 statutory appropriation assented to on the 28th of May 2015 allowed the FCTA only 7 months in 2015 for implementation. To meet its obligations and as permissible by the constitution, the FCT 2015 appropriation needs to be extended to 31st March 2016 as that would enable the FCT to make payments for various critical and essential ongoing projects towards achieving a better performance in the implementation of projects for the 2015 statutory appropriation.I have taken a liberty of attaching a draft FCT Appropriation Bill 2015 for your consideration, while looking forward to your kind approval of my request”.