Reps Call For Automation Of Budget Process

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary at the House of Representatives chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja. Photo: Twitter: @femigbaja.

 

 

The House of Representatives has called for the automation of the nation’s budget in order to improve the process.

They made the call at the resumed plenary of lawmakers on Tuesday at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja, after about eight weeks of recess.

Following a motion raised on the floor of the House, the lawmakers resolved to urge the Federal Executive Council to automate the national budget formulation, execution and reporting process.

They also mandated the House Committees on Finance, Appropriations, and Justice, to convene a legislative summit with relevant stakeholders to improve the budget process.

READ ALSO: House Of Reps Resumes Plenary

A member of the House from Bauchi State, Mr Mansur Soro, had raised the motion in which stressed the need to improve the process.

He noted that the annual budget plays a crucial role in economic management and development policies of any nation.

Soro believes it is the main mechanism of fiscal policy and the tool through which government could stabilise and influence the economic direction of a country.

According to him, the standard global public sector budgetary practice requires the implementation of a defined budgetary framework synchronised with timelines, or a standardised budgetary calendar to reduce uncertainties and promote compliance and coordination.

The lawmaker decried the situation where Nigeria’s budget process perennially experiences delays despite the efforts of all relevant entities involved in the budgeting process.

He added that budget delay impacts negatively on economic growth, as a 2018 study shows that 100 days delay in its implementation tends to depress the economy by at least 2.5 per cent.

Soro was also worried that the nation’s experience of prolonged budget process has imposed substantial economic costs on the public and private sectors of the economy.

He was concerned that such a delay has led to poor budget implementation, adding that it has a direct correlation to poor service delivery in the public service.

The delay, according to the lawmaker, introduces opacity into the budget process, leading to the induced diversion of public funds and resources, as well as corruption which has become the scourge of society.

He said the foreign and domestic private sector investment was adversely affected due to uncertainty in the strategic direction of the government.

Gbajabiamila Appoints Chairmen Of Reps Committees

Photo: [email protected]

 

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has named the chairmen and deputy chairmen of the standing committees of the House.

According to a list forwarded to Channels Television, the Speaker appointed leaders for a total of 105 committees of the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

Gbajabiamila made the announcement during plenary on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Lawmakers Flee As Snake Falls From Roof Of Ondo Assembly During Plenary

A breakdown of the list shows that the chairmen were selected across five political parties in the country.

They include the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Others are All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and Action Alliance (AA).

See the full list below:

Reps In Rowdy Session Over Shiites, Police Clashes

Reps In Rowdy Session Over Shiites, Police Clashes

 

There was a rowdy session in the House of Representatives on Tuesday over the recent clashes between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and the police.

Speaker of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, had led members into the chamber for proceedings of the day.

With no announcement or communication from the Presidency, Mr Mohammed Bello (Kano) raised a matter of urgent public importance on the protests by the Shiites in Abuja.

He said, “If urgent steps are not taken to proscribe Islamic Movement of Nigeria or declare their assembly unlawful in Nigeria, the group may likely arm itself and turn a deadly group.”

[READ ALSO] Killings: The Presidency Feels Very Very Sad – Adesina

The lawmaker was worried that the incident was capable of disorganising the peaceful coexistence in the country.

He said the police force seemed to be overwhelmed and called on the Inspector General of Police to declare the gathering of the group as illegal.

Bello condemned the unnecessary loss of lives and properties as a result of violent protest by the group and stressed the need for improved intelligence gathering from the security agencies to forestall the unleashing of further mayhem, especially in the city centre of Abuja.

On his part, Mr Stanley Olajide called for meaningful dialogue to tackle the problem before it spirals out of control.

He stated that the government cannot be seen to condone the death of its citizens despite their position of the equation, a position which enjoyed the support of Mr Chinedu Obidigwe who decried the nationwide spread of restiveness in different forms.

Mr Francis Agbo, in his contribution, blamed the porosity of security checks and intelligence gathering for some of the unlawful acts of mayhem people faced recently.

He, therefore, called on the security agencies to come before the House and explain their shortfall despite huge appropriated funds.

The lawmaker also called on the Executive to obey the court order if it has ordered the release of the leader of the Shiites while he was being prosecuted.

Some members who contributed to the motion called for speedy and decisive action on the part of the government to serve as a deterrent to other insurgents.

Others also called on the House to use their law-making rights for the good of the safety of Nigerians nationwide and invite the heads of the security agencies to brief the House on the measures put in place to address the nation’s security challenges.

Meanwhile, the House Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, informed his colleagues that he had been earlier mandated by the Speaker to engage the protesting Shiites on behalf of the House.

He stated that he assured them that he would extend their grievances to the leadership of the House who would undoubtedly forward the same to the Presidency.

The lawmaker, however, decried the manner in which the group began to attack people in sight, including the body of the National Assembly the very next day.

He said that no one was above the law and they should be held accountable.

In his response, Speaker Gbajabiamila wondered why the group did not keep faith with the agreement it entered with the delegation of the House.

He said the protesters they breached the agreement and called for an urgent and decisive action to deal with the situation.

The Speaker, thereafter, called for an Executive session to deliberate on some sensitive areas on the issue.

On resumption of normal plenary, Mr Wole Oke moved an amendment for the House to set up an ad-hoc committee to interface with the Executive arm of government to permanently resolve the agitation of the Shiites.

The motion was voted on and passed as amended.

Reps Ask IGP To Shut Down Edo Assembly

Reps Ask IGP To Shut Down Edo Assembly

 

The House of Representatives has asked the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, to shut down the Edo State House of Assembly.

This followed the adoption of a report of the House ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the crisis rocking the state Assembly on Wednesday.

On July 9, members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly considered a motion seeking to take over the functions of the Edo Assembly, in line with the Constitution.

They had also constituted a committee led by Abdurazak Namdas to investigate the crisis and recommend actions to be taken by the House.

READ ALSO: Edo Speaker Rejects Reps’ Move To Shut Assembly

Shortly after considering the report of the panel on Wednesday, the lawmakers adopted it and asked the heads of the police and DSS to seal the Edo State House of Assembly.

In line with the recommendations of the report, they agreed that Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, in the interest of peaceful coexistence of the state, “Should issue a fresh proclamation within one week in line with Section 105(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), stating the date, time and venue (of the inauguration), and publish in any national daily and television station.”

“That all actions taken by the 7th Assembly members should be declared null and void pending proper inauguration.

“That all members of the Edo State House of Assembly, both those who have been inaugurated and those who have not been inaugurated should dissolve their factions in the interest of peace and stability of the House, with the view to moving the state forward.

“That the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General, Department of State Services, should shut down the Edo State House of Assembly and provide adequate security to allay further fears of intimidation and threat as alleged by members-elect,” the adopted report also recommended.

The lawmakers also resolved that “Where recommendations 1, 2 and 3 above fail, the National Assembly should invoke the provisions of Section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to take over the state House of Assembly until the situation normalises.”

Edo Speaker Rejects Reps’ Move To Shut Assembly

Edo Speaker Rejects Reps’ Move To Shut Assembly
Mr Frank Okiye

 

 

The Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, has rejected the move by the House of Representatives to shut down the assembly.

He stated this in a statement on Wednesday, shortly after the House of Representatives took the decision in Abuja.

The federal lawmakers had asked the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, to shut down the Edo Assembly.

They had also called on the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, to issue a fresh proclamation within one week, in the interest of peaceful coexistence of the state.

READ ALSO: Reps Ask IGP To Shut Down Edo Assembly

In his reaction, Okiye told Channels Television that a competent court had already retained the security agencies from taking such an action.

He insisted that the rule of law was prevailing in the State Assembly.

The Edo Speaker said, “Here, there is peaceful conduct of our operation here and the people that are in the National Assembly do not have such powers to issue out such orders.

“I repeat they do not have it. So, it is condemnable and should be resisted.

Okiye also issued a statement at the end of his interview with Channels Television.

Read the full statement below:

It has come to our knowledge that the Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives investigating issues surrounding the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly has recommended that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Department of State Services (DSS) should seal up the Assembly.

Considering what we came to know in the course of this process, the recommendation of the Ad-Hoc committee does not come to us as a surprise.

For example, the chattered plane marked 5N FCT, which brought the committee members to Benin City, was paid for by the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is a major party in the disagreement.

Also, the younger brother to the National Chairman, Seid Oshiomhole, in a recent leaked audio conversation, revealed the underhand dealings in Abuja regarding the matter.

He stated that Oshiomhole and his proxies have been having meetings with the committee members and other actors in the issue in Abuja and dolling out money to ensure the issue goes in their favour. 

With all these, it was clear that the ad-hoc committee was up to no good. Their report was always going to be biased.

Moreover, we want to draw the attention of the general public and the Police to a subsisting court order restraining the Police, headed by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the National Working Committee of the APC; the DSS and their agents,  from interfering in the affairs of the Assembly, as the House has been going about its activities peacefully and without rancor.

The National Assembly must take note that they are expected to act as agents of peace and not merchants of crisis.

Edo State has always been peaceful and any attempt for them to carry out this order will certainly disrupt the peace that is currently being enjoyed in the state.

In a time like this in which the nation is being engulfed in one form of violence or the other, it is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is seen to be promoting violence and exacerbating the tension in the country.

Signed

Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye

Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly

Reps Adopt Bill Banning Use Of Plastic Bags, Prescribe N500,000 Fine

Ogun Governorship Aspirant, Three Rep Members Dump APC, PDP
A file photo of lawmakers during a plenary at the House of Representatives.

 

The House of Representatives Committee on the Environment and Habitat has approved a bill prohibiting the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging.

The lawmakers on Tuesday passed the bill, Plastic Bags (Prohibition) Bill, 2018, with the hope that it will address the issue of relieving pressure on landfills and protect the environment.

The bill enacted by the National Assembly, states that a retailer shall offer a paper bag to the customer at a point of sale; and failure to do so, such retailer is guilty of an offence.

READ ALSO: Gov Ishaku Bans Use Of Polythene Bags In Taraba State

It also added that a manufacturer of plastic bags, for the purpose of selling, whether as a carryout bag is guilty of an offence.

According to the bill, any person found guilty shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N500, 000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both such fine and imprisonment.

It also prescribes a fine of N5 million to companies guilty of the offences.

See the bill below:

Reps To Pass 2019 Budget Before End Of Next Week

Reps To Pass 2019 Budget Before End Of Next Week
House Committee Deputy Chairman on Rules and Business, Olabode Ayorinde.

 

The House of Representatives will pass the 2019 Appropriation Bill before the end of next week.

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Olabode Ayorinde, said this during an interview on Tuesday in Abuja,

He told Channels Television at the end of plenary that he was optimistic that the lawmakers would pass the bill latest by next week.

READ ALSOSaraki Gives Senate Committee Thursday To Submit Report

Ayorinde noted that the resumption of plenary in the House immediately after the Easter break was proof of its resolve to the passage of the bill.

He added that members of the House Committee on Appropriations were absent at the proceedings because they were busy with the completion of the processes.

The lawmaker gave assurance that the House was committed to passing the budget and other responsibilities before the end of the eighth assembly.

EFCC Recovers Over N117bn, Secures 192 Convictions In Three Months

EFCC Recovers Over N117bn, Secures 192 Convictions In Three Months
A file photo of Mr Ibrahim Magu

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has made recoveries totalling over N117 billion since the beginning of 2019.

The acting EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, who disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja, said the commission recovered N239.16 in 2018.

Mr Magu made the disclosure during his appearance before the House Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, to give an appraisal of EFCC’s 2018 budget performance and defend its 2019 budget proposal.

He also revealed that the anti-graft agency obtained 313 convictions in 2018 while more than 190 convictions have been secured since January 2019.

READ ALSOCourt Dismisses Suit Challenging Ihedioha’s Nomination As PDP Candidate In Imo

 

“In the first quarter of 2019 financial year, the commission made recoveries which include cash recovery of N140.7 million, direct deposit of N2.021 billion, tax recoveries of N7.20 billion, subsidy recovery – N3.06 billion, and USD recovery of $292 million,” the EFCC chairman said.

He added, “In the course of the year 2018 financial year, the commission obtained 313 convictions across its offices. It interesting to know that the commission has also obtained 192 convictions from January 2019 to date.”

Magu, however, identified incomplete budgetary releases as a major reason for the inability of the agency to meet its needs and obligations.

He appealed to the House Committee to increase the budgetary allocation for the EFCC in 2019, in order to carry out its duties effectively.

 

The Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Mr Modibbo Hamman-Tukur, also appeared before the committee to defend the budget of the agency.

He outlined some of the objectives the NFIU has to meet following the lifting of Nigeria’s suspension from the Egmont Group.

Hamman-Tukur informed the lawmakers that the 2019 budgetary proposal for the agency was insufficient as it needed adequate funds to effectively carry out its role.

The Chairman of the House Committee, Kayode Oladele, promised the EFCC and NFIU that the lawmakers would consider their requests.

Earlier, he welcomed them to what he said was the last defence session of the 8th National Assembly and gave an overview of the committee’s work.

Reps Challenge INEC On Inconclusive Elections, As Senators Reject Move To Debate Issue

Reps Challenge INEC On Inconclusive Elections, As Senators Reject Move To Debate Issue
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmoud Yakubu, with other officials at a briefing in the early hours of Saturday, just before the Commission announced the postponement of the general elections. Photo: ChannelsTV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have questioned the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare an election inconclusive.

The lawmakers who frowned on the number of the elections declared inconclusive by INEC in the 2019 general elections, unanimously agreed to immediately constitute a special committee to take another look at the Electoral Act for amendment.

The members of the House of Representatives had turned out in their numbers for the first proceedings since the elections.

READ ALSO2019 General Elections, ‘An Expensive Joke’ – Falana

However, as they got set for the first business of the day, a lawmaker, Sunday Karimi from Kogi State, raised the inconclusive elections as a matter of urgent public importance.

“Inconclusive election has become a demon haunting the Nigeria electoral system, eroding the confidence of the electorate in the electoral system and has become a tool for subverting the will of the people during elections in Nigeria,” he said.

His submission elicited reactions, with the lawmakers questioning the powers of the electoral umpire to declare elections inconclusive.

For the House Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, there is an urgent need for an amendment of the Electoral Act.

He said, “Within a matter of weeks or one week, let us set up a crack team to amend the Electoral Law to limit the powers of INEC,”

Another lawmaker, Douye Diri, called for a change from manual to electronic voting which, he said, would not only be cheaper but also save lives.

He blamed lawmakers for not being proactive in addressing the challenges facing the electoral system in Nigeria. He said, “Mr. Speaker I repeat; the problem of this country is in the National Assembly.”

At the end of deliberations, the House resolved to quickly set up a committee to examine the Electoral Act with a view to amending the law.

Meanwhile, when the matter was raised in the upper legislative chamber, many of the senators opposed the idea of debating the matter but referred it to another legislative day.

Both chambers eventually adjourned sitting to Tuesday March 19, to allow re-elected members attend the presentation of certificates of return to them by INEC on Thursday March 14, 2019.

 

 

Reps Pass Minimum Wage Bill At N30,000

BREAKING: Reps Pass Minimum Wage Bill At N30,000
A file photo of lawmakers at the House of Representatives in Abuja

 

The House of Representatives has passed the National Minimum Wage Bill at N30,000 for workers in the country.

The lawmakers passed the bill during Tuesday’s plenary presided over by the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara.

They approved the figure after the bill was read and passed for the third time on the floor of the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

Prior to the passage of the bill, the House adopted the report of the ad-hoc committee set up to look into the bill presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

It said it decided to adopt the report of the tripartite committee because of the obvious difficult living conditions in the country.

READ ALSON27,000 Minimum Wage Bill Passes Second Reading At Senate

The lawmakers inserted a clause in the bill which makes it effective from the date it is asserted to by the President.

They, however, retained the original clause in the bill which excluded employers of less than 25 people from paying the new minimum wage.

In the face of the recent development, the bill would be sent to the Senate for concurrence.

Earlier, the lawmakers concluded debate on the 2019 Appropriation Bill, as well as read and passed it through the second reading.

They consequently referred the bill to the House Appropriations Committee and other related sub-committees for further actions.

The House then adjourned plenary till February 19, after the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Reps Demand Apology From Minister Over ‘Comments’ About 2019 Budget

Udoma denies blaming lawmakers for delayed budget presentation…

 

Reps Demand Apology From Minister Over ‘Comments’ About 2019 Budget
A file photo of lawmakers at the House of Representatives in Abuja.

 

The House of Representatives has raised concerns over comments allegedly credited to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.

The matter came up during plenary on Thursday as a matter of privilege sponsored by Chika Adamu, seeking an apology from the minister and a retraction of the purported statement.

Senator Udoma was said to have accused the National Assembly of frustrating the presentation of the 2019 Appropriation Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The majority leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, informed his colleagues that the minister claimed to have been quoted out of context.

But the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara ruled that the minister be given time to retract or clarify the statement.

 

A file photo of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.

 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning issued a statement in which it faulted the reports that the Senator Udoma blamed the lawmakers for the delay in the presentation of the budget.

Contrary to the reports, the minister’s media adviser, Akpandem James, explained that there was no time that Udoma gave an impression of any dispute between the lawmakers and the executive.

He stated that the minister stressed during a media chat that the executive would follow due process in the presentation of the budget.

Read the statement from the ministry below;

RE-FG blames NASS over delay in presentation of 2019 Budget

Going by the headlines in some news media today in respect of the presentation of the 2019 Budget to the National Assembly, it is obvious that some of the reporters misconstrued the response of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, when he was asked when the budget would be submitted to the Legislature.

The Minister simply said that as is the procedure when the budget is ready, the Executive liaises with the National Assembly for a date which the Budget will be laid before the joint session of the Assembly; and that the process is on already.

The Minister at no time throughout the interaction with the media blamed the National Assembly for the delay in the presentation, nor gave the impression that there was any issue between the two arms of government over the 2019 budget.

Signed

Akpandem James

Special Adviser (Media and Communication) to the Hon Minister