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PIGB, constitutional amendment, others top agenda as NASS resumes Tuesday

The pending and widely waited Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB), constitutional amendment, electoral reforms, 2021 appropriation, amongst other critical legislations would mostly be top on the agenda as National Assembly resumes from their 2-months annual recess on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.

The National Assembly, following strictly its calendar had embarked on its long annual recess on July 23 to resume on September 15.

Many critical bills such as the PIB and Electoral Act amendment which most Nigerians had been yearning for did not received attention as assured particularly by the House of Representatives due to the distortion of the legislative calendar by the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic the National Assembly shut down plenary and most legislative activities for over one month (March 24 – April 28) and even after resumption, plenary was held once or at most twice a week.

Both the PIGB and Electoral Act amendment for instance were passed by the 8th Assembly but rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari who withheld his assent and the 9th Assembly, particularly the House of Representatives in its first year promised to revisit them but could not till the end of that year and nothing had been done on them till the National Assembly embarked on annual recess.

But at the last plenary before the long vacation commenced, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila announced that work on the PIGB would start during the recess of the House by a Committee chaired by the Chief Whip of the House, Mohammed Monguno with the Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of the House Committees on Petroleum Resources Upstream, Downstream, Gas and Local Content as members.

While BDSUNDAY checks revealed that the Committee has not started work on the PIGB, President Buhari had received the new version of the Bill which was recently transmitted to him by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, It is expected that same would be transmitted to the National Assembly as it resumes from recess.

Gbajabiamila had also disclosed that the House is working on a Bill that will provide alternative source of funding for security agencies which will be given speedy passage and sent to the President for assent.

“The issue of reform or constitutional amendment is on the table of the House of Representatives. We already have a committee in place, and they will start work as soon as we return from our recess on September 15. For me, the constitutional reform and the electoral reforms are issues we take seriously”, he had said.

Also, work on the 2021 Appropriation Bill (Budget) is to be on the front burner when the National Assembly resumes as the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed had in a meeting with Principal Officers of the National Assembly said.

The President has directed Ministers work hard for the budget to be delivered to the National Assembly by the end of September.

Already, the National Assembly Committees on Finance were interacting with Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Fiscal Strategy Paper ( (MTEF/FSP) during the recess on the House shut down all meetings and probes.

It is also expected that the House of Representatives in particular would begin implementation of its updated legislative agenda which contains critical Bills and legislative interventions upon resumption from the long vacation.

In the revised legislative agenda, the Green Chamber intend to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), 2007, to require revenue generating agencies (MDAs) to deposit at least 80% percent of their revenue into the Consolidated Revenue Funds (CRF) instead of their operating surplus which they arbitrarily determine.

Others are introduction of a Bill to ensure: effective coordination of donors, efficient /judicious use of all funds from foreign Official Development Assistance, amendments of National Health Act (NHA), NCDC Act, NHlS Act, Electricity and Power Sector Reform Act No. 6 of 2005 b), Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) Act and Ecological Fund Act.

Apart from Bills, the House particularly would upon redemption consider the report of the alleged financial recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the Committee Niger Delta Development which was stepped down at the last plenary before recess due to sufficient copies for all Members.

Also, several probes such as the $500 billion China loans to finance the Lagos-Ibadan rail line and other projects by the House Committee on Treaties, Agreements and Protocols, N300 billion unremitted revenue to the federation account by MDAs by the Committee on Finance, queries raised by the Accountant-General of the Federation against MDAs by Public Accounts Committee (PAC), amongst others would resume at the end of the recess.

BDSUNDAY gathered that many motions which were stepped down for want of time during the last plenary of the House and motions on emerging issues such as the fuel price hike and flooding are expected to feature prominently at resumption of plenary.

Reliable sources in the Rules and Business Committee who did not want to be mentioned told BDSUNDAY that some of the motions earlier stepped down such as Need to investigate the Refusal of Access Bank Plc and Other Banks to Call back their Fourty–Five Percent Staff Recently Laid–Off despite the Directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Need to Investigate the Purported Concessioning of Airports in Nigeria, Need to Approach the Countries Relocating Multinational Companies from China due to Mishandling of the Covid–19 Pandemic to Relocate to Nigeria would resurface.

“Motions like the Urgent Need to Direct the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) to Review Its Ban on Direct Electricity Supply from 33kv Feeders Which is Currently Posing as Impediment to Government’s Quest of Energising Most Parts of the Country, Need to Address the Menace of Incessant Motor Accidents and the Unnecessary Gridlock on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and Need to Curtail the Rampant Armed Herdsmen Attacks in Zango Kataf LGA of Kaduna State would come back when the House resumes”, the source added.

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