President seeks NASS’ approval of $2.786bn Eurobond
The Senate, yesterday, expressed concerns over the serial rejection of bills passed by the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, including the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Accordingly, the Senate approved the setting up of a technical committee to look into the bills critically for possible further legislative action and transmission to Buhari for assent.
The decision to set up a committee to that effect followed a point of order raised by the Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, at plenary, urging his colleagues on the need to see the reasons for their rejection by the President.
This development was sequel to some letters from the presidency to the Senate, read by Senate President Bukola Saraki, where the President intimated the lawmakers with his decision to withhold his asset to the affected bills.
While making reference to Order 43, Lawan said it was expedient for the Upper Chamber to set up a committee to take a look at the concerns raised by President Buhari.
The bills are, National the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018, Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2018, Advance Free Fraud and other Related Offences (Amendment) Bill 2017, and Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill 2018.
Others are National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Establishment) Bill 2018, National Research and Innovation Council (Establishment) Bill 2017, and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The president also declined assent to the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) (Amendment) Bill 2018, Chartered Institute of Entrepreneurship (Establishment) Bill 2018, National Agricultural Seeds Council Bill, 2018 and five (Fourth Alteration) Amendment Bills.
Lawan, in his point of order, said: “I have listened to the bills you have read conveying the observations of Mr. President for not signing so many bills. I am of the opinion that we should study all these bills that have been returned to us to understand the real issues.
“I believe that we will have something to learn from it to avoid a repeat. This is because we put in a lot of time and our very limited resources. If, at the end of the day, we are not able to get these things properly done, it amounts to waste of time and resources.
“We need to take proactive action. In view of this, I suggest we set up a technical committee under the Chairman, Rules and Business.”
In his remarks, Saraki mandated Lawan to constitute the committee and forward names of members to Senate in plenary.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has requested the Senate to grant him approval to raise external capital of $2.786 billion and $82.54 million to refinance the balance of $500 million matured Eurobond in the international capital market.
He further asked the apex chamber to consider and approve an executive bill titled: “Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill (2018),” confirmation of appointment of Olanipekun Olukoyede as the Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), N346.5 billion 2018 statutory budget proposal for Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
After reading the communications from Mr. President by Saraki, the Senate, in line with the tradition of the National Assembly, adjourned plenary till today in honour of their departed colleague, Hon. Funke Adedoyin of the House of Representatives, who died penultimate Friday.
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