“We Are Committed To Achieving Our Legislative Agenda”, Says @SpeakerDogara, As @HouseNGR Passes 85 Bills In One Year
As the 8th Assembly under the leadership of the Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara marks its first anniversary, the Speaker has charged his colleagues to collectively work towards ensuring that the promises made in the House Legislative Agenda are achieved.
In a speech delivered at the plenary session, Dogara noted that in the last one year, they have laid a solid foundation on which the promise of effective and positive legislation for the benefit of all Nigerians can be delivered. He said: “it is clear that the House has performed creditably in the implementation of its legislative Agenda in the 1st Session. We must collectively ensure that in the remaining Sessions of our tenure, greater attention is paid to implementing those aspects of the Agenda that are not fully or yet to be implemented. A strong foundation has been laid in the first Session and we have three more sessions to make a positive impact on the lives of Nigerians through relevant and effective legislation.
“The fact that we have started very strong is not enough. We have to finish as strong if not stronger than we have started. As it is said: ‘the end of a matter is better than the beginning thereof’. That is what is right and that is what we must do. Doing anything less or else would amount to abdication of our sacred mandate as representatives of our people and that of the House as the bastion of democracy.”
Going further, he added that not only has the House laid a good foundation in its first year, it has also “put in place appropriate legislative frameworks, reform operations and processes, and has recorded notable accomplishments especially in relation to our agreed Legislative Agenda. The 8th House of Representatives has adequately prepared the grounds for effective contribution to the Change Agenda of the present government through legislation.”
Reeling out the achievements of the 8th Assembly in the last one year, the Speaker recalled that a Legislative Agenda (2015-2019) was drafted and approved after debate by the legislators to guide their legislative activities for 4 years but within one year, a lot of its goals have been achieved.
Highlights of the scorecard Dogara presented include setting up committee on Legislative Needs Assessment of the National Assembly on August 14, 2015 whose final Report is awaited; successful selection and placement of members into various committees, which were inaugurated on 9th November 2015.
He also noted that the House has now enforced timeliness for delivery of Committee Reports, set up Committees to deal with various subjects, enforced its commitment to “implementing the use of templates, manuals, and standardised formats for committee activities”, by appointing an Ad-Hoc Committee, headed by the Chair Committee on Federal Judiciary to carry out this all important assignment.
Dogara added that the House has also reviewed its Standing Orders twice on 17th October, 2015 and on 23rd March, 2016 in fulfillment of the legislative Agenda, set up an Ad-Hoc Committee on Code of Conduct for Honourable Members which produced a comprehensive Code of Conduct for Hon. Members and set up a Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation with a mandate to ensure that the process of rule making, regulations and other subsidiary legislation by MDAs are properly followed.
Furthermore, the House, in implementing its agenda to making e-voting a regular feature of House proceedings, introduced procedures for electronic voting for members. Already, the use of emails to send copies of the Notice Paper and Order Paper to Hon. Members has already been achieved.
On budgetary matters, the Speaker continued, to aid full implementation of the 2016 Budget, the House provided that “In line with the provisions of Section 318 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, this bill will run for a course of 12 months starting from the date it is assented into law”, thereby extending the time for implementing the budget.
Dogara also stated that in the House’s commitment to plug revenue leakages, the House set up an Ad-Hoc Committee to investigate the alleged misuse, under-remittance/non remittance and expenditure of Internally Generated Revenue by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and that the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee is awaited with great impatience.
Others include legislative initiative on the North-East, Resolution on Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Recovery and Development of the North East of Nigeria, request to Mr. President to set up the machinery for the establishment of a North East Development Commission, and also to facilitate the convening of an International Donor Conference or Summit as soon as possible for the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Recovery and Development of the North East Zone of Nigeria.
On Law making, Dogara assessed the past legislative session as very high, compared to earlier periods.
“During the legislative session, June 9, 2015 – June 9, 2016, a total of 685 bills was received in the House. The bulk of these bills, indeed, about 98 percent, 675 were members’ bills and 10 executive bills. Out of the bills, 416 are awaiting 2nd Reading; 130 Bills have been referred to Committees; 3 bills are awaiting consideration. It is instructive to observe that 85 of these bills have been passed by the House so far,” he stated, while adding that the number of Bills introduced in the last one year, which have all passed first reading, represents the highest annual consideration of bills by the House since the return to democratic governance in 1999.