Due to the delay in the presentation of the 2022 budget for the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), the National Assembly (NASS) may combine and pass the 2022 and 2023 budgets for the administration.
The budget for both years is estimated at N1.3 trillion. The Senate committee in charge of FCTA matters, which dropped the hint yesterday, said the National Assembly was considering the possibility of allowing the FCTA run the two fiscal budgets concurrently to facilitate speedy execution of ongoing priority projects.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi, who had led other members to inspect some school and hospital projects in the FCT as part of their oversight function, said the Senate may extend the 2022 budget by six months and allow it to run concurrently with the 2023 budget when passed.
Recall that the Senate had on October 12, 2022, passed for second reading the N607.962 billion FCT budget after several objections over the lateness of its presentation.
Adeyemi gave the assurance that the 2022 budget of the FCT would be passed when the National Assembly resumes from recess in two weeks time.
He explained that despite the delay in the presentation of the budget, governance of the territory was not put on hold, as the peculiarities of the FCT allows the FCT Minister to access up to 50 per cent of the budget pending approval by the Senate.
He said: “The National Assembly is thinking of the possibility of extending the budget for three months or allow it run concurrently with the 2023 budget; then we will be having over a trillion naira budget for both years.
“Let’s not forget that even before we passed the budget, the minister can spend up to 50 per cent of the provision. So, it’s not as if they cannot spend money but the fact is that they cannot spend beyond that limit.
“What we are doing now is to make sure that when we resume, we pass the budget and when we do, we come with a motion of the budget running concurrently.
So my thinking is let us look at the possibility of allowing the budget to run concurrently and discuss with the honorable minister of the FCT. Let’s allow the budget to run concurrently even for three or six months.”
While inspecting facilities at the Nyanya General Hospital, the committee chairman called for the expansion of the hospital to enable it cater for the over 11,000 patients that visit the facility every month.
He, therefore, urged the FCTA to consider the interest of the masses in all its programmes, saying the committee would make budgetary provision for healthcare services an utmost priority.
Permanent Secretary, FCT, Olusade Adesola, who conducted the Committee round its projects, said plans were in top gear for the establishment of Model Schools across the FCT as well as upgrade of facilities at Government Science Secondary School, Pyakassa, Maitama-Abuja.
Adesola, who represented the FCT Minister, MallamMuhammad Bello, pointed out that the influx of people into the FCT was over-stretching the facilities and infrastructure provided by the government. He urged the National Assembly to ensure adequate budgetary provision for their expansion.