…Expect 2020 budget soon
…As Gbajabiamila asks adhoc c’ttees to handover to standing ones before Sept 30
…Says no going back on stand against xenophobia
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Age long Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB would be reintroduced and perhaps passed very soon by the House of Representatives.
The House would also reintroduce the bill prohibiting estimated billing in the power sector to permanently end the wastefulness and unfairness created by an unreliable and arbitrary system that imposes unforeseen costs on individuals and businesses alike.
There would also be the Education Bank Bill, designed to ensure that no child is unable to get a quality tertiary education in Nigeria due to a lack of means.
Another bill to work on is also 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.
The Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila made the disclosures in his welcome address to the members of the House at plenary on Tuesday.
It will be recalled that members on July 25, 2019 adjourned plenary session and proceeded on annual vacation.
In his address, Gbajabiamila said: “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 due 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.”
The Speaker also asked all adhoc committees of the House saddled with one assignment or another to handover to the Standing ones by the end of the month.
“All ahoc Committees to wind up and handover to standing committees by September 30th”, he said.
Gbajabiamila also hinted that the House would soon receive the 2020 budget proposal from President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “Over the course of the recess, we convened two National Roundtable Discussions on 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.
“The sessions provided an opportunity for institutional stakeholders from the executive and legislature to engage one another honestly on the problems of the appropriations process and the options for addressing those problems. It also allowed us to begin to prepare the ground for the 2020 Appropriations Bill which we expect will shortly be presented to the National Assembly by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
“We look forward to receiving the Executive’s proposals and making sure they align with our national development objectives as well as the expectations and best interests of the Nigerian people.”
On the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians resident in South Africa, Gbajabiamila said that the House was resolute in its earlier resolve, urging the federal government to hold the government of South Africa accountable.
“The leadership of the House had cause to convene to address the most unfortunate events of xenophobic attacks against Nigerian citizens in the Republic of South Africa.
“The scale of these attacks, the cost in lives and property, and the appearance of involvement by state actors in the worst of the attacks were some of the issues we deliberated on, after which the entire leadership of the House, in an unusual occurrence, released a joint statement articulating in clear terms the feelings of the Nigerian people on the unfortunate events and demanding action from the South African government.
“We stand by the commitments we made in our public declaration and we will continue to work to ensure that those who have been hurt by these attacks are properly compensated for their loss.
“The House commends the efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria in addressing the issues that gave rise to these unsavoury events, as well as holding the government of South Africa accountable through the available diplomatic channels.
“We will continue to support these efforts by whatever means is required of us. We will also seek to take whatever active measures we can to help the returnees resettle in Nigeria and to resume productive lives here at home.”
He commended the efforts of the Chairman of Air Peace Airlines, Sir Allen Ifechukwu Onyema at providing his organisation’s services without charge, to repatriate those Nigerians who were willing to return home to escape the carnage that had been visited upon them just as he also hailed the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and a respected voice in the politics of South Africa, Julius Malema for openly condemning the attacks and directed his organisation to provide aid and protection for Nigerians facing harm.
The Speaker also enjoined members of the House to unite in peace and unity for the progress of the nation.
“Our success depends on us collaborating with one another honestly and with unity of purpose.
We must stay on the message of nation building and Let our disagreements over politics and policy never be allowed to get in the way of our joint task”, he said.