By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – THE Senate has proposed a development fund of N540 billion annually for the Nigeria Police to help in training and retraining of personnel of the force.
The fund is also to assist in the provision of equipment, offices and barracks accommodation.
According to the Senate, if the bill is finally passed into law, the fund will ensure that the needed facilities to enhance security service delivery of the Nigeria Police Force is achieved.
Against this backdrop, the Senate has proposed 0.5 percent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account, totally N370 billion, to go to the development fund.
In his lead debate on the bill, which passed second reading yesterday, Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim, APC, Katsina South, said in the bill, there is a proposed amount on company income tax of five percent of N50 billion for the Police Fund as well as Cyber Security fund of 30 per cent that would amount to N120 billion for the proposed fund.
According to him, “it has become imperative to improve the funding of the police because, the entire N9,250,565,307 projected for all subheads in the overhead cost for police formations and commands in 2017 budget is not even enough to provide minimal fueling and maintenance cost for Police operational vehicles for five months.”
The Bill was referred to the Senate Committees on Police Affairs and that of Judiciary, Human Right and Legal Matters to report back in four weeks.
Bill to repeal National Commission for Refugees
Also, yesterday, a Bill to repeal National Commission for Refugees passed the second reading in the upper legislative chamber.
Presenting the lead debate, Senator Ubali Shitu (APC, Jigawa) said the bill sought to enact the National Commission for Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and Migrants to provide a framework for management and reintegration of victims of displacement and migration.
According to him, the objectives of the bill include the utilisation of National Commission for Refugees as central coordinating agency in managing, facilitating and administering matters related to IDPs.
Other objectives include facilitation of institutional and stakeholders’ collaborations and networks for effective management of IDPs in the country.
In his lead debate on the bill, Senator Shitu said as at 2014 Nigeria, had 3.3 million persons displaced by conflict, noting that was the highest number in Africa.
“This figure as released by the 2014 Global Overview report also adds that Nigeria ranked behind Syria with 6.5 million IDPs,’’ he said.
Also yesterday, a Bill to regulate the manufacture, importation, distribution and quality control of fertiliser in the country scaled second reading in the Senate.
Presenting the lead debate, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa West), said the main purpose of the bill was to safeguard the interests of farmers against nutrients deficiencies and adulteration.
According to him, other objectives of the bill include safeguarding the interests of fertiliser enterprises and contributing to the creation of an enabling environment for investment by the private sector in the fertiliser industry, among others.
He added that Nigeria had extensive areas of arable land suitable for agriculture but noted that productivity was low due to nutrient depletion as a result of continuous cropping with little application of fertilizer.
Senator Adamu said: “Although increasing the use of modern inputs, including fertilizer, is key to raising agricultural productivity and reducing poverty in Nigeria, very little fertilizer is used, making Nigeria one of the lowest users of fertilizer per hectare in the world.
‘’This situation, besides limiting crop yields, challenges the Nigeria farmers’ resilience to guarantee food security for the nation in the face of climate change.”
The senator, who noted that approximately 6000 agro-dealers of various sizes operated in the fertilizer market and served farmers with a variety of fertilizer products, said “the unrestricted entry into the fertilizer market without a functioning regulatory framework opens the way for product adulteration.”
Supporting the bill, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, APC, Niger North, who noted that the bill would contribute immensely to economic development of the country, said fertilizer was a key determinant of farmers productivity.
“Providing farmers with the right fertilizer is an important intervention by government,’’ Abdullahi said.
In his remarks, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu said the bill, when passed, would provide a regulatory regime from production to management chain of fertilizer.