By John Ighodaro
CALABARâ€”The Cross River State House of Assembly has passed a total of 113 laws and 633 resolutions since June 1999, says the Speaker of the House, Francis Busam Adah.
He disclosed this in an address he presented on the floor of the House on the occasion of the end of the 2nd Session of the third legislature of the fourth republic in commemoration of 10 years of the legislature in the country.
According to him, the bills passed between 1999 and 2003 numbered 39 and resolutions passed during the same period were 205. He said the House passed a total of 49 bills from 2003 to 2007,Â whiel275 resolutions were passed during the same period.
From 2008 to date the House has passed 25 bills and 153 resolutions.
The Speaker during his address took time to comment on the condition of democracy in the country.
His words: â€œMany questions have been raised as to the credibility or otherwise of marking the democracy day in Nigeria.
Critics have often pointed out that there is little to celebrate particularly bearing in mind the fact that the problems confronting this country and indeed the various states of the Federation, have not been addressed at all.”
This in essence is the sour point of our march to nationhood.â€
He argued that â€œthese problems notwithstanding, it is however, obvious that the major challenge of popular participation in the management of state affairs by the people themselves, has become sacrosanct in the present democratic dispensation.
Moreover, in a representative democracy like ours, the citizens are equally empowered to rule through their representatives who are periodically elected in order to keep them accountable.
It is these attributes as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) that is being celebrated. In fact, since 1999, power has rightly returned to the people.â€
On public financial management, he said â€œevery year, as mandated by the constitution, the House passes the Appropriation Bill or Supplementary Appropriation Bill specifying revenues and expenditure estimates for a particular period.
There has never been a time the House has delayed the passage of the Appropriation Bill either for its own gains or out of negligence.
Timely passage of the said laws has been a major support to the state government in its development drive. It is worthy to note that a reserve fund for the state was established in 2006 following the passage of the Reserve Fund Bill.â€
He also spoke on ways the House of Assembly has assisted the state in the area of tourism, saying â€œthe House passed the Cross River State Development Bonds Bill in 2002.
This law was principally to enable the state government to raise money from the capital market and kick-start the tourism drive. The House is satisfied that this amount was used very prudently and efficiently in developing the States tourism sector. â€œ
He said that was not all as â€œthe House equally passed the Cross River State Tourism Bureau Law in 2003 to establish an agency that will drive the tourism initiative. It again supplemented it with the passage of the Carnival Commission Bill in 2007.
Further to this, the House passed the Tourism Development Levy Bill 2007 to expand sources of revenue for the sector.â€