House of Representatives, Wednesday gave its nod to the request by the Federal Government to extend the timeline for the implementation of capital projects in the 2020 budget.
The House passed into law the 2020 Finance Bill. It will be recalled that the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed had on Tuesday written to the parliament, seeking the extension of the timeline. The Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila had in his response to the request pointed out that the proposed amendment of the 2020 appropriation Act cannot be done by way of a motion but through an amendment Bill, directing that the request be scheduled for the next legislative sitting (Wednesday).
The Bill titled, ”Bill for an Act to Amend the Appropriation Act, 2020 to Extend the Expiration Period of Capital Expenditure in the Act beyond 31 December, 2020; and for Related Matters (HB.1194), was presented by the House leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa at the plenary. The House resolved that the implementation of capital projects should end March 31, 2021, as against December 31, 2020. Similarly, the House also passed Finance Bill 2020 transmitted to the National Assembly only last week.
The passage of the bill was a sequel to the consideration and adoption of a report laid by the Chairman House Committee on Finance, Hon. James Faleke. It will also be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter dated 25th November 2020, which accompanied the Finance Bill said its passage would support the implementation of the 2021 budget through key reforms to specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other laws.
“Reform extant fiscal policies to prioritise job creation, economic growth, socio-economic development, domestic revenue mobilisation, as well as to foster closer coordination with Monetary and Trade Policies. “Provide fiscal relief for taxpayers by reducing the applicable minimum tax rate for two years consecutive years of assessment, as well as reforming the commencement and cessation rules for small businesses.
“Propose measures time fund the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response and introduce provisions to enhance the recovery of corporate donations towards responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as any similar crisis in the future.
“Amend certain aspects of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, to align this Act with the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as well as to enhance fiscal efficiencies by controlling the cost-to-cost revenue ratios of key state and Government-owned Enterprises; and Amend the Public Procurement Act to implement key procurement reforms previously proposed by the National Assembly, in 2019, to extend the scope of the
Act to the Federal Judiciary and Legislature, accelerate procurement processes, increase mobilization fee thresholds and provide for essential e-procurement reforms”, the President had written.