Reps consider critical bills for economic growth

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

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The Nigerian House of Representatives says it will continue to consider important bills to provide the needed reforms in the critical sectors of the nation’s economy.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila stated this in Abuja on Tuesday while welcoming members from annual recess.

He said bills such as Petroleum Industry, Estimated Power as well as Tertiary Education Access Bills will be given priority to boost the nation’s economy.

The Speaker explained that “I fully expect that in this session, the House of Representatives will consider important legislation such as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) I believe that we in this 9th Assembly are ideally suited to surmount the obstacles that have mitigated against passage of this essential reform legislation which is important if we are to properly address the structural, operational and policy challenges and inefficiencies in the Nigerian petroleum industry, and position the industry to best serve the interests of all the Nigerian people. 

In addition to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), we will see the reintroduction of the of Bill prohibiting Estimated Billing in the power industry, intended to put a permanent end to the wastefulness and unfairness created by an unreliable and arbitrary system that imposes unforeseen costs on individuals and businesses alike, the Education Bank Bill, designed to ensure that no child in this 21st century is unable to get a quality tertiary education in Nigeria dues to a lack of means and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Bill which will serve to broaden the Local Content Act and ensure the original intent of the Act is made real in the lives of our people.”

Speaker Gbajabiamila also explained that the House is working with relevant stakeholders to prepare a framework for the recovery of government assets as part of legislative measures to rid Nigeria off corruption and abuse.

“Through the National Roundtable discussion on Recovered Assets, we are working with the relevant executive agencies to develop a framework to more effectively account for the cash and non-cash assets recovered as part of the government’s fight against corruption in public office. 

Government over the last five years has been quite successful in recovering so many of these resources, and these funds have in recent time contributed significantly to funding for our national budget,” He emphasised.

The House also urged the executive arm to transmit the 2020 budget proposal for the National Assembly to consider the document early for the realization of January-December cycle.

Mr. Gbajabiamila said “over the course of the recess, we convened two National Roundtable discussions on the reform of the budget process and on recovered assets

These roundtable sessions were intended to take a critical look at issues relating to the development, enactment, funding, implementation and evaluation of the national budget.”

In a motion unanimously adopted at the plenary, on the need to improve the budget process in Nigeria, the House called on the executive arm of government to automate the formulation, execution and reporting process of the National Budget.

Presenting the motion, Mr. Mansur Soro, a member from Bauchi State, expressed concern over the perennial delay in budget process which impact negatively in the nation’s economic growth.

Mr. Soro stated that “the budget was an important policy document that would provide the roadmap and foundation plan for the successful delivery of government expenditure for a specified period.

However successive governments in the last twenty years of Nigerian democracy had failed to get this process right which had continued to be almost entirely responsible for the economic shortfall and stunted economic growth Nigeria has suffered over time.”

Nnenna.O