By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
Senate yesterday asked the federal government to shelve its plans to close the 2017 budget on March 24th, even as it extended implementation of the Appropriation document till May 31st 2018.
The Senate recalled that there was a resolution by the National Assembly that the budget should run from May 2017 to May 2018 when the appropriation Bill was passed last year.
This followed a motion moved by Senator Attai Aidoko (PDP, Kogi), in which he drew the attention of the Senate on the plans by the federal government to close the account of the 2017 budget on March 24th.
Raising on Order 11 of the Senate Rule, he said the Appropriation Act 2017, shows that the budget should run from May 2017 to end of May.
According to him, “The circular that money for the last budget should be mopped up by March ending is causing panic among the MDAs. I want the Senate to direct that whatever circular issued by the Ministry of Finance must be rescinded.
“The budget must be allowed to run its full course. The Act must be abided by as signed by Mr President,” he said.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said though there is no need to debate the information brought by the motion, it is worthy of note that the Minister of Finance does not have the powers to terminate the life of a budget before it is due.
“Since the issue is about personal explanation raised by the senator, there will be no need for debate on the motion but it must be noted that the ministry does not have the right to bring a life of a budget to an end before its due time.
“The ministry must withdraw such circular and abide by the Act as signed by Mr President,” Saraki said.