By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives yesterday passed for second reading a bill seeking to establish a development fund for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria, SDGs.
The bill with its long title “A Bill for an Act to Establish the Sustainable Development Fund Charged with Responsibility for Imposing, Operating and Maintaining the Fund for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB. 133) is being sponsored by Rep. Abdulrazak Sa’ad Namdas from Adamawa State.
If successfully passed into law, the bill will create a body charged with the responsibility of imposing, operating and managing the Fund for the realization of the objective.
Leading the debate on the bill, the sponsor, Namdas stated that “with the expiration of the millennium development goals and the application of the wider-scoped sustainable development goals.
He added that the Bill was meant to ensure that countries remain on the right path of meeting the goals spelt out for citizens of their countries by the year 2030, adding that Nigeria needs to ensure it does not derail from the track of progress.
The lawmaker commended the President Buhari-led administration for its resolve and proactive preparedness to meet the goals, just as he called for support of the Bill and for the political will by all stakeholders to meet the laudable targets.
The Bill contained 36 clauses in all. Clause 1 provides for the establishment of the Sustainable Development Fund. The second clause provides for the imposition of a sustainable development levy. The third clause provides for assessment and collection of levy while the fourth clause provides for the establishment of the Board for the Fund.
Similarly, clause 5 provides for functions of the Board. Clauses 6 and 7 provides for powers and functions of the Board while Clause 11 provides for the establishment of a fund for the Fund.
Also, clauses 27 to 36 of the Bill provides for offences, penalties, limitation of suits against the Fund, service of documents, restriction on execution against property of the Fund, indemnity of officers, regulations, interpretations, and citation.
Part II of the Bill provides for Staff of the Fund. The part made provision for appointment and removal of the Secretary and other staff of the Fund. Other Clauses in this part included budgetary provisions, expenses, the award of contract, powers to accept the gift, exemption from tax, account audit, financial year, reports and powers of the President to give directives.
The Bill was voted for and referred to the House Committee on the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for further legislative input.