Dogara Reshuffles House Leadership As Jibrin Heads Land Transport Committee

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, has reconstituted chairpersons of some of the House committees.

In an announcement on Wednesday at the floor of plenary, Dogara also named Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin as Chairman of House Committee on land transport.

Recall that Hon. Jibrin, a member from Kano State was former appropriations committee before he was suspended by the House for over one year over alleged manipulation of the 2016 Budget by Dogara and some Principal members of the House.

His suspension was however lifted in March 2018.

Other new chairpersons of committees are Orker Jev, FCT; Edward Pwajok, Rules and Business; and Muntari Dandutse; FCT Judiciary.

 

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Maritime Safety key To Economic Growth, Says Speaker @YakubDogara

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said maritime safety is key to economic growth, especially in light of the huge contributions made by the sector to economic development. He said this at a public hearing by the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration on a bill seeking to establish the Maritime Security Agency.
Speaking to members of the committee and stakeholders in the maritime sector, Dogara stressed the importance of the maritime sector to revenue generation in the country and highlighted the importance of the Bill being considered.
“You will agree with me that the Maritime Sector is key to the success of the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) that was launched in March, this year.  This is because a lot of revenue needed to revamp our economy can easily leak away if our Maritime environments are not properly managed or policed.  To this end, the proposed Bill seeks to establish an Agency charged with the mandate to provide maritime security and communication in our maritime region as a separate entity from NIMASA.  This is to further fortify the security arrangements in the Sector.
It is pertinent to note that Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was established in 2007 following the passage of the NIMASA Act No 17 of 2007 by the National Assembly, which saddles the Agency with the Promotion of Maritime Safety and Security and, indeed, the protection of marine environment among others.  In an effort to curb the menace and recurring security issues on our maritime domain, NIMASA was mandated to take up a primary role and finance a new Maritime Security Architecture project of the Federal government.”
This was also as he acknowledged efforts made by NIMASA so far, and cooperation with the Nigerian Navy.
“I have been made to realize that the Agency has stepped-up significantly the deployment of satellite surveillance Infrastructure to enable the Agency monitor shipping activities and the marine environment in real time for safety, security and administration of the maritime domain of the Nation. This package essentially exposes all illicit activities of operators while also aiding the Agency in providing the required assistance in the event of maritime distress call.  It is note-worthy that the Nigerian Navy also compliments the efforts of NIMASA in ensuring that our territorial waterways are secured and free from criminal activities.”
He further stated that subjecting the bill to public discourse is necessary, especially as there are concerns about duplication and additional expenditure incurred in setting up new agencies.
“In view of these facts, it has become very imperative to subject this Bill to public discourse, considering the obvious facts that the Nation is grappling with the shrinking of the already lean resources available for delivering on core social infrastructure.  This is more so, as some observers have argued that establishing another agency charged with same mandate as NIMASA and Nigerian Navy will ultimately translate to duplication of functions in an era when Government is finding ways to reduce the cost of administering our bureaucracy.”
The Speaker revealed that the House takes matters relating to the maritime sector very seriously, as five of the 154 bills so far passed by the House are targeted at strengthening the sector. The bills are; Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko Bill, the National Transport Commission Bill, Coastal & Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Amendment Bill, National Inland Waterways (Amendment) Bill, and the Maritime Operations Coordinating Board (Amendment) Bill.
The bill presently being considered is a Bill For an Act to Establish The Maritime Security Agency to Promote Maritime Security and to Provide Among Other Things, for the Establishment of the Maritime Security Agency Charged With the Responsibility of Providing Security and Safety Information and Communication Facilities for All Categories of Users of the Nigerian Maritime Industry and for Related Matters.
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Domesticating Rome Statute On Environment, Human Rights Will Help Attract Foreign Direct Investment, Says Speaker @YakubDogara

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has reiterated the commitment of the green chamber to prioritising issues related to human rights and protection of the environment.
He said this on Wednesday at a public hearing  by the House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements on two bills pertaining to domesticating the Stockholm convention and the Rome Statute; international instruments on the protection of the environment and human rights respectively.
He listed increased foreign direct investment and lowering the administrative cost of taxation as some of the advantages of implementation.
“You will agree with me that these two Bills are very important to us as a Country because they are meant to protect human lives and secure the health of the people as well as the environment. In addition, they will lower the administrative cost of taxation and encourage the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to our country.”
He added that the House considers health and environmental issues to be of utmost importance, especially as both bear a direct impact on economic growth and development.
“Let me stress here that the House of Representatives is aware of the need to be responsive and take initiative on issues of the environment and health, as well as national economic challenges. That is the essence of these two Bills. Moreover, the issues that these two Bills reinforce the provisions of the Right to Life in Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
The passage of these Bills into Law will further assure our international partners that we are alive to the obligations to which our country as a member of the global community is committed.”
Speaking on the process of making treaties part of the nation’s laws, he cited constitutional provisions and also explained the importance of public hearings.
“As we may all know, the process of making Treaties, Agreements and Protocols to become part of the Nigerian Laws is well encapsulated in Section 12 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended. It is this process of Legal transformation that we are working on that will validate the instruments and the extension of the rules laid down in such Treaties, Agreements and Protocols to individuals in our country.
Let me point out here that this Public Hearing, is an important segment of our Legislative process as it enables us to interface with the people we represent. It gives us the opportunity to obtain inputs from relevant stakeholders, and this enriches our Laws. This process makes the Parliament to be on the same page with the people and institutions for whom the Laws are made, thereby making the Laws to have acceptability and ability to stand the test of time.”
The bills being considered are: A Bill for an Act to Give Effect to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants; and for other Related Matters (HB. 658), and A Bill for Act to Provide for the Enforcement and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, Genocide and for Other Related Offences and to Give Effect to Certain Provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Court in Nigeria (HB. 593).
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Speaker @YakubDogara Goes Back To School Again

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has gone back to school.

Dogara, a lawyer cum farmer, is presently attending a one week course at the London School of Economics (LSE).

The Speaker is attending the Executive Education Courses with specifics in Strategic Decision Making.

Previously, he had attended courses in Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford and other leading world institutions.

 

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Host Communities Should Have A Say In Project Design, Implementation, Says Speaker @YakubDogara

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said that the House is committed to ensuring that communities are empowered to have a say in the implementation of projects and how such projects would impact the environment.
Speaking at a public hearing on a bill which seeks to amend the Environment Impact Assessment Act in order to make it more responsive, the Speaker highlighted the importance of including host communities in the deliberation process, and how doing so would help protect the environment.
“Today, we are all gathered to make valued inputs and presentations on the Environmental Impact Assessment Amendment Bill. This bill seeks to amend the Environmental Impact Assessment Act to make it responsive by ensuring that project developers, approving authorities and persons whose livelihood will be affected by proposed project are involved in decision making to safeguard the environment and ensure adequate remediation of the environment and others.”
He commended efforts by the Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders including Civil Society Organisations and the academia, for their efforts towards addressing environmental issues.
“Furthermore, I am informed that the Federal Ministry of Environment is taking steps to address the gaps, omissions, inadequacies as well global emerging issues such as: strategic Environment Assessment, Global Climate Change, Transboundary issues, Risk and Vulnerability, Jurisdictional Roles and Responsibility, Violations/penalties, IFC performance standards/Equator principle and Grievance Redress Mechanism in the extant legislation.
“I recognise the role of all stakeholders; the government, civil society organisations, the academia, industry operators in the various sectors of our economy, professional bodies and community-based organisations in advocating for a virile and effective EIA as an Environment Tool”, he said.
He stressed the need for improved environmental impact assessment and audit processes and expressed hope that the amended Act and policy reforms will ensure a better deal for the environment, the people and industry operators; and stated that the “disastrous” effects of some projects has necessitated extensive and more inclusive deliberations before implementation.
“Given the attendant disastrous effects of some of the projects in various locations in Nigeria, either by government or their agencies, companies or by individuals, it has become very urgent and imperative for all stakeholders to painstakingly deliberate on this topical issue of environmental impact assessment process.”
He commended the House Committee on Environment and Habitat, which convened the public hearing, for its diligence in addressing various lapses and lacuna in environmental laws. He urged the committee to use the input from stakeholders to formulate an amendment bill which effectively address inadequacies.
“Our communities and our people deserve the best from us and this Eighth Assembly is determined to give them only the best”, the Speaker said.
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House To Pass People With Disability Bill In Few Days, Says Speaker @YakubDogara

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara,  has disclosed that the House of Representatives will give expeditious passage to the People With Disabilities Bill within the next few days.
He gave the assurance when he received a delegation from Kpankpando Foundation For Persons With Disabilities in his office Wednesday.
The speaker said it was unjust for about 25 million Nigerians living with disabilities to be excluded from the benefits of democracy, adding that the House is committed to passing laws that will enable the All Progressives Congress to implement its promise in its manifesto to include people with disabilities in governance.
He explained that the Disabilities Bill had been passed by the House of Representatives on the 9th of June, 2016, while the Senate did same on the 13th of July, 2017, with a conference committee set up to address areas of differences in the versions of the two chambers on the 22nd of September, 2017.
Pledging that the bill will be passed tomorrow (Thursday), he said, “ it will be listed on the agenda of the House by tomorrow and once that is done, you can sure that it will mark the end of the journey of that bill in the National Assembly, except if the president declines assent to the bill, that is when it will come back to the House but hopefully, it will address the issue once and for all.
“We are all aware that the welfare and security of our citizens is the primary responsibility of government and I was a bit taken aback when the chairman of the board of trustees Sen Osita mentioned that we hold within our borders, about 23 million Nigerians living with disabilities, I thought the number was far less. As a matter of fact, he just said that he has just been told that that number may have grown to 25 million and that’s because disability can occur at any stage in someone’s life. It may be caused by an accident or anything that can lead to disabilities and that is why, I believe, the manifesto of the APC, the party that we belong to, clearly articulates the interests of the disabled and promised that we will bring them to the fore by providing an enabling environment that guarantees  them to succeed and if we have a system that excludes 25 million of our citizens, you can now begin to imagine the injustice to our citizens. We are alive to our responsibilities as representatives of the people and their interest is also utmost as well.”
He also encouraged the disabled in Nigeria not to see themselves limited by their disabilities as it does not stop the talent or potential buried in them.
Earlier, founder and chairman, board of trustees of Kpankpando Foundation For Persons With Disabilities appealed to the speaker to ensure speedy passage of the Bill to enable the disabled in Nigeria exercise their rights, especially by participating in the oncoming 2019 general elections.
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Speaker @YakubDogara Restates House Commitment To Protect Vulnerable Nigerians

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has restated the commitment of the parliament  to protecting the weak and vulnerable in the society.
Speaking at a public hearing on six bills aimed at providing social welfare for widows, the unemployed and people with disabilities, among others, Hon Dogara,  commended the spirit and intendment of the proposed legislation but also advised against the creation of additional agencies which, he said, would further increase the country’s wage bill and may result in the duplication of the mandate of existing agencies.
“As Representatives of the people, we are committed in making laws that will go a long way to ameliorate the sufferings of our people and create a favourable environment for an all-inclusive development and sustainable livelihoods. We owe our people the duty and responsibility of taking care of their welfare especially when we notice a lacuna in the system.
We must be true to the lofty ideas enshrined in the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of our Constitution which proclaims that the Security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. It further states in Section 17(2)(f) that children, young persons and the aged should be protected against any exploitation whatsoever, and against moral and material neglect.”
He highlighted alternatives to creating new agencies, such as amending acts establishing agencies in order to grant them more powers.
“We should guard against setting up a government agency under every Bill. We should not duplicate the mandate of existing agencies except where it becomes absolutely necessary to fill a void or where existing agencies are not paying enough attention to the subject matter. It may be necessary sometimes, to amend an existing Act and imbue it with additional powers than setting up a brand-new agency with its attendant costs to the treasury. On each occasion we should exercise our legislative judgment wisely in the national interest.”
He further stated that policies and structures which cater to the welfare of the less privileged are key to national development and stressed the importance of concentrating lawmaking efforts on those items contained in the exclusive legislative list. He also noted that challenges often differ across states, which are better able to legislate on matters unique to them.
“The common theme that resonates with each of these Bills we are here to discuss as stated above is the need to take care of the weak and vulnerable members of our society. The Bills touch on the welfare of the Elderly, women, children, the disabled, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned and generally the less privileged in our society. Indeed, no nation can lay claim to civilisation and development without deliberate policies and structures to take care of the segment of society captured above.”
 “It is important at this stage to emphasise that Nigeria runs a constitutional democracy and consequently, however lofty the above ideals may appear, the Committee must proceed cautiously to make sure that we concentrate our law-making efforts on matters in the Exclusive Legislative List contained in the 1999 Constitution. We should allow the State Houses of Assembly to make laws for matters in the Residual List, that is, issues that can only be attended to at the local level.
 The wisdom of this constitutional design is because of the peculiarity of each state in such matters and a one fits all approach maybe counter-productive. Even where matters are in the Concurrent List, we should weigh carefully and deliberately and make a determination whether we should cover the field with a Federal enactment.”
The Bills which were examined at the hearing are as follows; A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Council for Public Assistance to Widows, Dependent Children and Orphans; A Bill for an Act to Establish a Welfare Trust Fund and Management Commission for Effective Management of the Welfare of the Unemployed, People with Disability (temporal/permanent), Orphans, Widows, the Elderly and the Youths, Compensation for Citizens who are deprived of means of livelihood as a result of population, demolition, forced relocation, retirement and health, provision of medical care and subsidies for poor families and to protect the less privileged in the society.
A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Registration and Control of Orphanages and other institutions for the Boarding, care and Maintenance of orphans and deserted children; A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Social Security and Welfare Board and vest it with responsibility for the control and administration of benefits and assistance to enhance the welfare of citizens, especially disadvantaged persons, children, women, the handicapped, the sick, the aged and the unemployed; A Bill for an Act to Regulate the Establishment, Registration, Provision and Management of Services and Residential Facilities for Elderly Persons; and A Bill for an Act to Protect the Elderly and Vulnerable Persons who lack reasonable Mental and Physical capacity to guard against financial abuse and other Related Matters.
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NLC Has Lived Up To Expectations In The Last 40 Years – Dogara

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has said the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has lived up to expectation in discharging its role of protecting the interests and welfare of the Nigerian worker.
Hon Dogara also  saluted former leaders of labour for their leadership and sacrifices that ensured the continued existence of one united and robust labour organisation in Nigeria.
He also assured that the House of Representatives will support ongoing effort to secure not only a living wage for the Nigerian worker but to ensure that in retirement workers are sufficiently taken care of.
In a statement to commemorate the 40TH anniversary of the founding of the NLC,  the speaker noted the brave and courageous moves taken by the congress when necessary to ensure that  better rights and privileges are conveyed on the Nigerian worker.
He said, “Indeed, the NLC has come of age. It has played a pivotal role in the struggle for better rights and privileges for the Nigerian worker. The NLC since its founding by a military Decree has lived up to its responsibilities of articulating and pursing the enlightened interests of the working man and woman. It has sometimes confronted the authorities by using the mechanism of strikes and in some instances the mere threat of action has enough to bring relevant authorities to the negotiating table.
“We must use this occasion to salute the former leaders of Labour for their leadership and sacrifices that ensured the continued existence of one united and robust labour organisation in Nigeria. The present leadership must ensure that this legacy bequeathed to them is maintained and even surpassed. The NLC must remain strong, united and progressive. It must work in concert with both government and the private sector to enthrone a viable and strong economy for Nigeria, which is the only sustainable way to ensure better working conditions for the Nigerian worker.
“The major challenge facing Labour today is to negotiate a meaningful National Minimum Wage for Nigerian workers. I wish to lend the support of the House of Representatives to the ongoing effort to secure not only a living wage for the Nigerian worker but to ensure that in retirement workers are sufficiently taken care of. The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain.”
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Dogara Woos Swedish Investors To Take Advantage Of Opportunities In Power, ICT, Industries, infrastructure

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has expressed appreciation to the government and people of Sweden for their humanitarian aid to victims of Boko Haram terrorism in the North East, while also reiterating the call for the convening of an international donor conference to source funds to rehabilitate and reconstruct the region.
Hon Dogara said this when he received the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Inger Ulvedt, who led a delegation to his office on a courtesy call.
He said, “I want to also thank you for the initiative you spoke about on the convening of a donor conference for the north east and the Lake Chad region in Nigeria which was done in Oslo, Norway, in February last year. It is something that I have constantly called for, using the platform of the Speaker.
“I happen to come from the North East region that is devastated on account of the insurgency and I did say that there was an international donor conference that was organised for Kosovo, It has been done for Iraq as well, and so many other nations and there was no way our own crisis here in Nigeria could actually be ignored.
“My contention then was that terrorism is a global phenomenon, it may be home grown in a particular country but its devastating consequences will be felt in another country. So my take on this has always been that a global problem requires a global response and that there was a need for the international community to organise a donor conference for the north east just as it was done for the rest of the countries I referred to.
“Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened but we want to thank the Nordic countries through the ambassador for the effort that was made and for the Oslo donor conference which yielded a lot of resources that have been channeled to our people.  As a parliament that is a true representative of the people, we are thankful for that effort and we call for more of such efforts.”
The Speaker  also urged Swedish investors to invest in Nigeria to create job opportunities for its teeming population, while noting that the country is the second largest trade partner with Sweden in Sub-Sahara Africa and has an existing cordial relationship that it values and hopes to deepen more for the overall citizens in both countries.
“Swedish companies or corporate citizens are not strangers to business in Nigeria; whether it is in the area of telecommunications, we remember Ericson handsets. I commend the ingenuity and creativity of the Swedish people in the area of automobile, in the area of power generation, they are doing wonderful work, so we cannot help but call for more engagement in this direction and more flow of foreign direct investment in Nigeria in the area of agriculture to provide employment for our people, in the area of infrastructure, power, renewable energy, ICT, industries, especially the automobiles we talked about, will increase opportunities in this part of the world if we continue to help,” he stated.
Going further, he added, “We look forward to continuous engagement and whatever it is, in terms of agreement, that we have to domicile in Nigeria, we pledge our total support and the legislature will give the power of law to treaties and agreements between the two countries.”
Earlier, the Swedish ambassador told the Speaker that Sweden is interested in collaborating with the Nigerian government in various sectors, and would like to broaden the existing bilateral agreements between them.
She also added that apart from supporting Nigerian students in areas of innovation at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State and Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto State, her country has been the
biggest donor to the Nigerian humanitarian trust fund for the victims of violence in the North East where they have built small houses, schools, hospitals etc
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Death Of 21 Bauchi Students, A Monumental Loss, National Tragedy, Says Dogara

Speaker of the House of Representatives,  Hon. Yakubu Dogara,  Tuesday evening broke down in tears after receiving the sad news of the demise of 21 students of Government Secondary School Misau, Bauchi state in a ghastly motor accident.
The students, who were accompanied by three teachers and their driver, were on their way to Kano State for an educational excursion when the unfortunate incident occurred.
A statement issued by the Speaker’s Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs,  Mr. Turaki Hassan quoted him as saying; “I am deeply saddened by the untimely and sudden death of these children. They died while  pursuing education and in a quest for  knowledge as future leaders of our country.”
“This is a national tragedy of  monumental proportion and a huge loss to the country. These children embodied our hopes and aspirations for a better society and their sudden death is a big loss to Nigeria because only God knows what they could have become in the future.”
“I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to their parents, students and teachers of Government Secondary School Misau, Misau Emirate Council and the entire Bauchi State over this  tragic incident.”
Hon Dogara said no amount of words would be enough to console their parents but prayed that God gives them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“May their gentle souls rest in perfect peace and may we never witness this again.”
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Dogara Mourns John Shagaya

Speaker of the House of Representatives  Hon. Yakubu Dogara,  has commiserated with the government and people of Plateau state over the death of Senator John Shagaya.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser Media & Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, Hon. Dogara, described the late General Shagaya as  a fine gentleman, reputable elder statesman, distinguished lawmaker and accomplished military officer.
The Speaker who described the late Shagaya’s death as a big loss to Nigeria said that his generation fought to keep Nigeria together.
“We will continue to remember his sacrifices as a military officer who fought in the civil war to keep Nigeria one”.
“We console with his the Shagaya family, people and government of Plateau state over this irreparable loss”.
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National Assembly Has Power To Alter, Amend And Review Budget Bills – Dogara

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has explained that the House is focused on using its oversight functions over the executive as a cooperative tool to bring development and better the lives of Nigerians, rather than as a tool of adversary.

He made this statement while delivering a keynote address at a 2-day summit on Intergovernmental/Party Relations and the Budget Reform Process for sustainable development in Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.

“Over the years, legislative oversight has been seen as more adversarial than cooperative. However, in conducting oversight, the principles of co-operative government and intergovernmental relations must be taken into consideration, including the separation of powers and the need for all spheres of government and all organs of State to exercise their powers and perform their functions in a manner that does not encroach on the functions of other arms. Seen in this light, the oversight function of the Legislature complements rather than hampers the effective delivery of services with which the executive is entrusted.”

He, therefore, called for a more cooperative goverment where the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, in their collective struggle to develop Nigeria and ensure better life for her citizens, will always adhere to a common loyalty to the Federal Republic of Nigeria by committing to securing the well-being of all the Nigerians and provide effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government for the country as a whole.

Dogara said the outcomes and recommendations of oversight undertaken by the legislature should be eagerly received, studied and implemented by the executive as a measure of accountability, citing an instance where the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua requested for the report of the probe carried out by the House Adhoc Committee  on Customs and Excise in the 6th Assembly under his leadership  and started implementing the recommendations even before the report was adopted.

“I can give personal testimony that as chairman, House Ad-Hoc Committee on Customs, the report of the House investigation we conducted was requested for by him personally and he started to implement the recommendations…” he recalled.

Going further, the Speaker added that for intergovernmental cooperation to function effectively to yield the desired outcomes, the distinctiveness of each arm must be safeguarded in that its constitutional status, institutions, powers and functions of each arm must be respected; each arm of government must remain within its constitutional powers; and when exercising those powers, it must not do so in a manner that encroaches on the institutional integrity of another. This means that checks and balances should be in place with mutual respect for the authority and powers of the other arms so as to achieve better cooperation.

“Each arm of government,” he continued, “must take concrete steps to realize cooperative government by fostering friendly relations, assisting and supporting one another, informing one another of, and consulting one another on, matters of common interest, co-ordinating their actions and legislation with one another; and adhering to agreed procedures.

“The various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are constitutionally required to account to the legislature, and they should always avail parliament of the complete picture on performance of the functions assigned to them as the consideration of the annual report of the MDAs alone may not give the complete picture of the performance of the relevant functions.”

Going futher, he said failure by these MDAs to adhere to resolutions of the legislature in accordance with  constitutionally assigned powers, will lead to a high risk of zero budget allocation to them since appropriation is one of the tools it can use to enforce compliance.

He said, “on the issue of legislative resolutions, one of the tools available to parliament in enforcing its Resolutions is the power of the purse as provided for by the 1999 Constitution as amended.”

“Any MDA that persistently disrespects a well-informed Resolution of Parliament may confront the power of parliament over its budget.. Over the years, legislative resolutions have been taken as merely advisory and hence enjoy a low level of compliance by the executive branch. I wish to strongly make the point that whereas some resolutions of the legislature are expressions of the will and views of the legislature, they most often do have practical, political and legal consequences. Resolution is also a mechanism through which the executive obtain expressions of opinion of important stakeholders to assist it in framing its policies. In jurisdictions like the USA, UK and India, parliamentary resolutions are taken seriously and level of implementation reported back to parliament. We should consider adopting these models in Nigeria.”

He restated that the power of appropriation is vested in the legislature which means it can alter proposals by the executive in any manner it feels will be more beneficial to Nigerians, and shed light on reforms the House has done on the budget process, including a bill he sponsored on Budget Reforms.

“The budget is also a legitimate opportunity for the government to set its policy agenda and priorities. Thus, in almost all political systems, it is generally accepted that the Executive has the primary role in developing an annual budget and presenting it to the Legislature. However, the Legislature plays a more active role in shaping the outlines of the budget submitted to it by the Executive. In most presidential democracies, such as ours, the Legislature has the right to review, in some cases, amend, alter, approve or reject the spending plan proposed by the Executive.

“Suffice it to say that even in developed democracies, the Executive and legislative branches have traditionally struggled to find an equitable balance of power over financial matters.

“Over the years, the National Assembly and the Executive have often disagreed over basic and more fundamental issues ranging from the petroleum price benchmark for the budget and role of the National Assembly in amending or modifying budget proposals submitted by the Executive to reflect diverse national development requirements. Other subjects of contention include details of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), timeline for budget presentation, implementation status and legislative oversight of budgets. While some see Legislature-Executive conflict as a necessary and beneficial precondition to limiting and controlling government, others view it as contributing to gridlock over major public policy decisions, thus making government ineffective. I see it however as a healthy constitutional exercise, for public good. However, cooperation between the Executive and the National Assembly is not only necessary but unavoidable.

“These conflicts often stem from weaknesses inherent in the different stages of our budget process. At the formulation stage, there is no adequate provision for a fixed and realistic budget calendar as well as public participation in the budget process. Also, the budgeting system is characterised by a weak link between development plans and annual budgets, resulting in poor development outcomes. Fundamentally too, there is neither a reliable and comprehensive database on the socio-economic conditions of the country nor a rigorous analytical framework for determining policy objectives.

“Happily, in the last Constitution Alteration exercise, the National Assembly passed an amendment to S.81(1) of the Constitution which if ratified, will now  require the President to prepare and lay the budget proposal before the National Assembly not later than 90 days before the end of each financial year rather than the current provision of laying it “at any time” in the financial year.

“Secondly, at the enactment stage, the process still appears haphazard with no definite timeline for the enactment of the Appropriation Bill.

Finally, at the implementation stage, some of the weaknesses include the relatively low budgeted capital expenditure compared to recurrent expenditure. Capital budget implementation is still constrained by weak revenue base; untimely and irregular release of funds; preponderance of unplanned projects; weak implementation capacity on the part of MDAs; and weak budget monitoring by the Executive and sometimes weak legislative oversight.

“In the House of Representatives, we have shown our commitment to ensuring that the procedure and process of consideration and passage of the 2017 Budget was transparent, inclusive and professional. The details of the Budget was debated and passed in plenary to avoid unnecessary drawbacks that normally characterise the budget process, in Nigeria. That is why I personally sponsored a Budget Process Bill, to set out mandatory time-lines for all stakeholders in the budgetary process.”

He also called for the inclusion of the ruling party in the budget preparation process in order for it to align with its agenda.

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