Connect with us

Legislature

Lawan challenges Nigerians to debate on essence of the legislature

Published

on

Spread the love

Lawan challenges Nigerians to debate on essence of the legislature

**wants Nigerians to look for value rather than lament over jumbo pay

The president of the senate Ahmad Lawan has challenged Nigerians to a debate on the real essence of the legislature and the National Assembly vis-vis its members emoluments that continued to be percieved as Jumbo package.
Lawan also challenged the executive on the criteria for setting aside paltry N128b as its 2021 budget which he said is less than 1% of the N13tr national budget.
He spoke while flagging off the two day retreat for top management of Natilnal Aseembly and the National Assembly Service commission at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
“May be I should also mention that in a budget of over N13tr the National Assembly will have N125 to N128B what percentage is that? It is less than 1%. So where is the remaining 99%.
“Yet instead of trying to see how N128b would be utilised by the National Assebly, what would be the output from the National Assembly, how useful are the output to the Nigerian populace we would always argue that the funding to the National Assembly is bogus.
“I am not here to defend the National assembly but to encourage the debate on what national assembly means to us as a country and as a people.
“If we dont like the set of members of the 9th National Assembly change all of us in 2023, vote in better people but we have to support the system to function because that is your foundation.”
“The other one that I will say may be a little bit controversial but I will not run away from it, what does national Assembly mean to Nigerians?
“What does the legislature mean to Nigeria, can we debate what the functions of the national Assembly members and legislature should be rather than to be talking about jumbo pay, where is the jumbo pay?
He challenged Nigerians to look for value for their money, saying that without the national assembly or the legislature in the country there would be nothing like democracy.
“So the value of the national Assembly or the legislature is democracy, because take out the legislature you will have not necessarily dictatorship but not democracy.
“So we always debate on Jumbo pay instead of what our functions should be and holding us responsible for what we are able to do and what we are not able to do.
“Ask for what you think we should be doing rather than saying close the senate or close National Assembly. Do we understand the implication of closing the national Assembly or the senate.”
But senate is a leveler because in the House of representatives population is the major consideration and tha is why she states will have five or six members in the house while others will have more than twenty.
“If you say close the senate you can be sure that there will be a day people will cry fol from the tyranny of the majority.
“They will say they are not represented properly in the parliarment because some people or some states have more but hey have to because they have the population. “However when you come to the senate what Kano State produces is what Bayelsa produces. We have three senator from Kano and you have from Bayelsa.
“That gives everyone the advantage and the opportunity to be represented fully and equally in the senate so that stabilizes the system.
“Just like Clement Nwankwo said if you pass 1000 Bill’s in the House and the senate does not concur definitely that will be the end of such Bills.
“So that is to tell you that the representation in the senate that provides equality of states is to work to ensure that every part of this country is not neglected but fully represented.”
He said, that is why Nigerians need to understand what the legislature mean to them.
Lawan also identified a major challenge in the national assembly to be that of tenure as legislators after 4 year tenure may not return hence they have the task or training new crop of legislators every four years
“The national assembly management has a very serious job at hand unlike the executive side of Government where you have civil servants who will be employed and will work for 35 years before they retire or reach the age of 60 before they retire.
“In the national assembly the major group, members of the national Assembly themselves elected for four years and many dont make it back after four years.
“In 2003 only about 20% to 22% returned, in 2007 the story was not different and it has been like that for a long time. That negates all the efforts in capacity building of the members of staff of the national Assembly.
“So each time you have new members of the national Assembly at last 50% that will become new legislature. They have to work to help them build the capacity but when you work with them as civil servants of the National Assembly, you are supposed to provide all the necessary support because you are the custodians of Knowledge and information regarding what has been happening in that place.
“So we rely on you and of course you too needs to be better.”
The President of the Senate also lamented over inadequacy of support staff or the legislative aids saying since 1999 till date the highest number of legislative aid for senator is five and the same thing of the House.
“That does not help much really. I am not advocating for more than necessary but what we have today is inadequate. “You find members of the national Assembly struggling to do almost everything by themselves that does not get the best out of them.
“So that places also additional burden on you the staff of the national Assembly because such services we cannot get from our legislative aids we often get from you.
“So we need to balance the environment give you the kind of thing that you need but also may be agitate for more legislative aids for the national Assembly members.”
Lawan also made case for more women in governance,”Our system should work to produce more women in governance. I am not saying we should appoint women who are not qualified but we should be a little bit affirmative.”
On the 2021 budget, he said, “We are working to pass the 2021 budget by the second week of December by the grace of God. We are working very assiduously to ensure that there is every possible scrutiny of the budget estimates presented to us by the Government.
“We achieved that in 2020 budget because promised Nigerians we would do that and it is going to be part of our legacy in the 9th National Assembly.”
On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is part of the most important legislations in the country, he said theyintend to pass it before the end of the second quarter of next year. “We will take our time because this is a very delicate and sensitive piece of legislation. This is to ensure that what comes out of the National Assembly in the PIB is a product of legislation that will ensure that Nigerians earns its revenue from this industry.
On the constitutional ammendment he said it has been experiencing low activities because of the 2021 budget saying that as soon as the budget is passed the constitutional ammendment would be fast tracked so it can also be passed in 2021.
“We should pass our amendments within 2021.”
“Similarly the amendments to.the electoral act is going to be within 2021 also in good time to ensure that we don’t encounter unnecessary distractions.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Legislature

Its wishful thinking to believe NASS can give new constitution to Nigeria says Omo-Agege

Published

on

By

Spread the love

Its wishful thinking to believe NASS can give new constitution to Nigeria says Omo-Agege

Nigerians should not engage in wishful thinking that the 9th National Assembly will deliver new constitution because it lacks the mandate to do so, the deputy President of the Senate Omo-Agege has indicated.

Omo-Agege spoke when he hosted members of Alliance of Nigerian Patriots in Abuja.

This always contained in a statement issued by Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to the Deputy President of the Senatw Yomi Odunuga.
The senator who chairs the Senate Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, stressed that the National Assembly has no powers to replace the current Constitution but can only amend it.

The delegation was led by Ambassador Umunna Orjiako.
The deputy Presidentnof the Senate cited advanced democracies like the United States of America where Nigeria’s presidential system of government was fashioned after as well as Sections 8 and 9 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), saying what is obtainable is piecemeal alteration of the Constitution.

He, therefore, urged those calling for a brand new Constitution to channel their energy towards participating actively in the ongoing amendment of the Constitution by the  Ninth Assembly.
In his words, “One of the issues you raised is the replacement of the 1999 Constitution. I am not so sure that we as a Parliament have the power to replace the Constitution. We can only make amendments. And it is explicit in Sections 8 and 9 of the Constitution on how we can do that and the requisite number of votes required.

“I say that because there are some top attorneys in this country, who for some reason, keep saying that we don’t even need any of this, that we should just bring a new Constitution. We can’t do  that. What we are mandated to do by law is to look at those provisions and bring them up-to-date with global best practices, especially to the extent that it tallies with the views of the majority of Nigerians. So we are not in a position to replace this Constitution but we can only amend.

“But, like I said, most of the issues you have raised here, like zones replacing states, that’s another euphemism for going back to the regions. We will look into that if that is what majority of our people want.

“You talked about devolution of powers. The preponderance of views we have received so far is that those 68 items are very wide and need to shed some weight and move them to the Concurrent Legislative List”. 

He also expressed his opinion on the call by some persons for the scrapping of the upper legislative chamber.

According to him, the country cannot practise unicameral legislature considering its large population.

“One of the issues raised by #EndSARS Protesters was that they should abolish the Senate and merge us with the House of Representatives. We are not in a position to do that. Mr. President is not even in a position to do that as well. Because they believe that he can just by fiat say ‘Senate bye bye. it will now be a National Assembly made up of only the House of Representatives’.

“But, as I said at a different forum, the President does not have such powers and I am not so sure that even we can legislate out the National Assembly,” he said.

He continued: “There are people who believe that yes, we had the 2014 confab report that has been ‘transmitted’ to the National Assembly and there is the El-Rufai Report on Restructuring, 2018, that has been transmitted to the National Assembly and that we should just take them to Mr President for his assent and we have the Constitution amended.

“But that is not how things are done here. We are a country governed by laws and the grundnorm is the Constitution. And the Constitution itself has spelt out what we can do and how we can do it”. 

Concluding, he tasked the group to reach out to other stakeholders across the country.

Earlier, Ambassador Orjiakor called for the reconfiguration of the present 36 states structure into six zones as federating units, drastic cut in the Exclusive Legislative List and expansion of the Concurrent Legislative List, reform of the National Assembly to a hybrid Presidential and Westminster systems, abolition of security votes to be replaced by regular security budget allocations and electoral reforms to ensure a truly independent INEC. 

He also called for limited immunity for entitled public officers in the Executive branch of government, provision for independent candidacy in all elections, creating a consensual balance between meritocracy and federal character among others.

Legislators who joined the Deputy President of the Senate to receive the guests include Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Saabi Yau. 

Continue Reading

Legislature

Senate urges FG to investigate deaths caused by strange ailment in Benue 

Published

on

By

Spread the love

Senate urges FG to investigate deaths caused by strange ailment in Benue

The senate yesterday resolved to urge the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Arbovirus and Vector Research Centre (NAVRC) to investigate the outbreak of a strange ailment suspected to be yellow fever in Epeilo-Otukpa and Itabono-Owukpa communities in Benue State that has claimed many lives.The upper chamber also Urge the Federal Ministry of Health to urgently mobilize focal persons to the affected areas to complement the efforts of the Benue State Government in ascertaining the nature of the ailment.This was sequel to a motion on urgent need to deal with the outbreak of a strange ailment suspected to be Yellow Fever, ravaging Epeilo-Otukpa and Itahono-Owukpa communities in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State.The motion was sponsored by senator  Patrick Abba (Benue SouthThe upper chamber also tasked the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to promptly put up gurveillance to contain the disease and see to the treatment of victims and protect others from further contacting  it.It urge the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), to synergize and support the people of Benue South Senatorial District and in particular the Epeilo-Otukpa and Itabono -Owukpa Communities, to treat, prevent and or reduce the number of cases and deaths.The senate further urged the Federal Ministry of Health to immediately activate and set up a multi-agency yellow fever emergency Operatives Centre (EOC) in Benue South, if the result should be positive for yellow fever.”They should conduct mass vaccination and awareness campaigns in Benue South Senatorial District, being that yellow fever is a completely vaccine-preventable disease as a single shot of the yellow fever vaccine protects for a lifetime.”Senator Moro in his motion had noted with grave pain the outbreak of a strange ailment said to be yellow fever in Epeilo-Otukpa and Itabono communities of Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue South Senatorial District, Benue State, Nigeria.He expressed further concern that the strange ailment has not yet been effectively diagnosed by health authorities.He however indicated that the Benue State Ministry of Health and Human Services has been able to intervene to some extent havi e collected samples and sent same to National Reference Laboratory to be able to establish the kind of organism that is causing the ailment and is availing victims of interim treatment.
He expressed saddeness that people the affected people in the rural localities are dying on a daily basis in their numbers with Epeilo and ltabono Communities recording 20 and 25 deaths respectively.He said death toll has been increaseing on hourly bases adding that the disease has been spreading to Ichama in Okpokwu where three deaths have been recorded. 

Continue Reading

Legislature

Finance bill gets accelerated consideration as it passes second reading

Published

on

By

Spread the love

Finance bill gets accelerated consideration as it passes second reading

The Finance Bill, 2020 yesterday got an accelerated consideration for first and second readings in the Senate, barely 24 hours after a presidential letter that demanded for its consideration and passage was recieved by the senate.
The executive bill seeks to support the implementation of the 2021 budget by proposing key reforms to specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other laws. 
It also seeks to amend the Capital Gains Tax Act; Personal Income Tax Act; and Value Added Tax. 
The piece of legislation scaled second reading in the Red Chamber after the lawmakers debated its general principles. 
On the aalue added Tax Section 4 of the VAT Act was amended by increasing the value added tax payable by consumers from 5% to 7.5%. 
According to Section 19 the penalty payable by a taxable person for non-remittance within the specified period has been raised from 5% to 10%. 
Under section 28, the penalty for failure to give notice of change of address or permanent cessation of business was increased from N 5000 to N 50, 000 in the first month and N25000 in subsequent months. 
The bill proposes a new section 8 to cater for the registration of a taxable person upon commencement of business. 
The penalty for failure to register has been increased from N10, 000 to N50, 000 in the first month and from N 5, 000 to N 25, 000 in the subsequent months. 
The new section 15 of VAT introduces a threshold for VAT compliance. Thus companies with turnover of N25, 000, 000. 00 or more shall render their tax on or before the 21st of every month. 
On the Capital Gains Act the bill proposes to amend section 36(2) of the Capital Gains Tax Act to the extent that exemption on tax liability for compensation for loss of office which was hitherto limited to N10, 000 is now extended to N10 million. 
It also proposes a new section 32, which provides that no tax shall apply to any trade or business transferred to a Nigerian company for the purposes of better organization of that trade or business etc. 
This tax exemption is however not applicable if the acquiring company subsequently disposes of the assets within one year of acquiring same. 
On Personal Income Tax Act section 49 of the Act was amended to make the provision of Tax Identification Number (TIN) mandatory for persons intending to open a new bank account for purposes of business operations or for continuation of operation of such bank account.
The mandatory requirement for tax identification number is for accounts being operated for purposes of business transactions. 
Leading the debate on the bill, the Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi said it has become imperative that the Nigerian tax legislation is updated frequently to respond to the challenges of today’s business environment.
He said the provisions contained in the Finance Bill are intended to incentivize economic activities to stimulate GDP growth and facilitate increase in the revenue generated 
“If the Nigerian government is determined to generate sufficient revenue to finance its numerous projects and meet the sustainable development goals of eradicating poverty from the country, it is important for the government to take pragmatic steps. Such steps should include devising ingenious means of expanding the tax base and collecting taxes effectively. 
“Tax education and sensitization of the public would go a long way in achieving compliance from taxpayers,” he said. 
The Senate President Ahmad Lawan, after scaling second, referred the bill to the Senate Committees on Finance, Customs and Public Procurement and report back in one week.

Continue Reading

Trending