The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola told the Senate Committee on the Federal Road Maintenance Agency that that Federal Government issued a circular to delay the implementation of capital components in the 2021 budget till May 31, this year.
Many heads of the MDAs who appeared before the various Senate standing committees for their 2021 budget performances also blamed their inability to execute their capital projects on the outright ban placed on procurement process from January to May 31.
It is therefore expected that the Federal Government would 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.
According to Fashola, FERMA, like other MDAs got circulars that delayed and deferred commencement of the implementation of the 2021 budget.
He said, “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.”
Reacting to this development, 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 stated that 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.”
Since funds had been released for the implementation of capital projects for this year and work had started in earnest, Jibrin promised that the Senate Committee will look at the situation and whatever is necessary will be done in a way that would allow for free flow of the process for the implementation of capital projects.