By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA — President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and former Speaker and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, have called for adequate funding of the National Assembly.
The three Nigerian leaders, who spoke at the convocation ceremony of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS/University of Benin Post Graduate Programmes for the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 academic sessions held at the National Assembly, yesterday, said lawmakers in the eight assembly had committed themselves to improving the lives of Nigerians.
They also harped on adequate funding of both arms of legislature because of the important role they play in nation building.
The Senate President, who is the chairman of NILD Governing Council, said core legislative, oversight and representative functions of the legislature are to contribute to the quality of governance.
He said: ‘’There is no gainsaying the fact that the core legislative, oversight and representative functions of the legislature provide an essential contribution to the quality of our democracy and governance as a whole.
“In the eighth National Assembly, the legislature has played a greater role in policy formulation and has engaged more robustly with the Executive at the various stages of policy formulation. This stems from our conviction that the task of nation-building must be a collective one, and this sometimes requires sacrifices on the part of the individual.
“Many of the legislative measures we have pursued since 2015 have been targeted at driving productivity, easing access to finance, creating jobs and improving livelihoods. Legislative proposals in this area are focused on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, particularly in reducing regulatory burdens and easing access to capital, with the objective of having a large number of sustainable fast-growing small and mid-size businesses.
‘’We have also taken legislative action to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, to encourage
compliance with tax obligations by all persons.”
Also noting that the National Assembly had helped save Nigeria from collapse, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said to attain stable, strong and effective governance in Nigeria, the National Assembly must receive priority attention in terms of capacity building.
Arguing that the legislature was the true face of democracy, Dogara said it was preferable to build healthy and strong institutions as the legislature than strong personalities.
He said: “It is our considered opinion that if there is any institution of government that should receive priority attention in terms of capacity building, it is the legislature. This is because the legislature is the true face of democracy.”
Governor of Sokoto State and a former Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, said there was an urgent need to properly fund the legislature.
He, however, noted that this might not be well received by the executive arm of government. According to him, to get better legislation churned out, the National Assembly needs funds.