The Federal Government has extended the implementation timeline for the 2020 Budget to May 31, 2021. This is against the March 31, 2021 earlier deadline issued by government.
According to a circular to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government and signed by the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, the extension was to ensure the successful implementation of the capital budget of 2020 which, he said, has been hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The implication of the circular on the economy is that implementation of the 2021 budget of the Federal Government would be on hold until June 1, 2021, six months after the National Assembly passed it into law. It also means that money will not be released for infrastructure development under the 2021 budget till June 1, 2021.
By delaying capital releases for 2021, experts say the economy would be strangulated as no fresh funds will be moved into the economy till the middle of the year.
he circular is also a negation of the new policy of Federal government which last year reversed the beginning of the accounting year from March 31 to January 1,starting from January this year.
The circular which was dated April1, 2021 and sent to principal officers of the government including the Chief of Staff to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Vice President’s office, Secretary to the Federal Government, National Security Adviser, ministers, Permanent Secretaries, directors’ general, MDAs etc also directed Treasury officers of MDAs to suspend the closing of cashbooks of accounts earlier scheduled for March 31, 2021 and now do it on May 31, 2021.
Titled extension of capital budget of 2020 to May 31, 2021, the circular with reference numbers TRY All &Bli/2020 and OAGF/CAD/026/V.111/581 of November 24, 2020 and TRY A14 & B14/2020 and OAGF/CAD/026/V.111/597 of December 30, 2020 also informed all Treasury Officers that Capital Cashbook would no longer be closed on March, 31 2021 in line with the earlier Treasury Circular of December 30, 2020.
Equally, all MDAs on the Government Integrated Financial Management Information Systems, GIFMIS platform have been instructed to automatically have their ledger periods and access to their funds closed online real-time by 12 midnight of May,31 2021 instead of March 31, 2021.
With respect to MDAs not on the GIFMIS platform, all necessary books of accounts, the Accountant General said, should be updated in respect of capital funds distinct from recurrent funds as at May,31, 2021, to facilitate closure of their accounts.
The circular also directed all MDAsub-TSA under the Remita CBN gateway which relate to capital funds under the Appropriation Act to similarly have their ledger periods and access to their funds closed online, real-time by midnight of May, 31 2021
With a view to ensuring a successful exercise in the mopping up of capital funds under the Remita platform, the AGF directed all MDAs to clearly separate their books of accounts to distinctively show the transferred funds as it relates to capital or recurrent expenditure on the Remita platform accordingly.
And for ease of reporting and to avoid over expenditure in 2021 financial year, the circular said all capital releases that relate to 2021 Appropriation should be reported in a separate cashbook adding that necessary functionalities are already in place on the GIFMIS platform to ensure that the transferred funds to year 2021 are accessed by MDAs.
The Accountant General said treasury officers would be available to close the books of accounts and extract balances transferred to TSA on May, 31, 2021 in line with extant rules and regulations.
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