Senate Will Expedite Action On Electoral Bill - Lawan

18/01/2022 4:45:00 PM

Senate Will Expedite Action On Electoral Bill – Lawan

Senate Will Expedite Action On Electoral Bill – Lawan

President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has assured that the red chamber would expedite action on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, having

He said, “Distinguished Colleagues, Political activities leading to 2023 general elections have already started.by January 17, 2022 3 min read Despite the obvious errors and gaps noticed recently in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 by a coalition of civil society organisations, the spokesperson of the Senate, Ajibola Bashiru, says no such errors exist in the copy of the bill transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari.In December, President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to the bill over some concerns.He made the comment during a town hall meeting organised by a civil society body, Yiaga Africa, on Sunday.

ADVERTISEMENT “This Senate should continue to provide the support that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) needs for successful elections across the country.” Lawan also tasked standing committees to strategies on ways to effectively oversight Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government to ensure the thorough implementation of the 2022 budget passed by the National Assembly in December last year and signed into law by President Buhari.Mr Buhari had in December declined assent to the bill because of the direct primary clause in it.“My Distinguished Colleagues, before we went on the recess, we considered and passed the Appropriation Bill on 22nd of December, 2021.Advertisement Speaking after he was asked a question on how long it will take to correct the errors and have the bill sent back to the president for assent, Basiru said most of the speakers at the meeting took legislative business as “pedestrian.That was the third consecutive time to pass the annual appropriation bill before end of year.Noted errors, gaps Yiaga Africa , called the attention of the National Assembly to the drafting errors and cross-referencing gaps in the document.“The Bill was signed into law on 31st of December, 2021 by Mr President, to give the desired effect of starting the implementation of the Budget from January 2022.“I want to also say that it is not correct that the National Assembly has done shoddy work on the electoral bill and I take that with seriousness to say that out of 185 sections of the bill, we have a problem with one section.

“Distinguished Colleagues, I once again commend the Senate, indeed the National Assembly and the Executive arm of Government for working tirelessly to maintain the instituted January to December budget cycle.The errors highlighted in the December 29, 2021 memo include grammatical errors as seen in Section 107 (3) and Paragraph 10 (2); improper cross referencing found in Sections 24 (4), 64 (7) and (8), 50(2), 91(2), Paragraph 14(2); repetitions in Section 137 and 138, Paragraphs 4 (5), (6), (7) and (8); and contradictory provision as seen in Paragraph 16 (3).I find some of the issues discussed here interesting — they are taking issues of legislation to be pedestrian work,” the spokesman said.“Distinguished Colleagues, as we all know the oversight of the implementation of the Budget is a critical function of the National Assembly.ADVERTISEMENT “We must therefore strategize on effective oversight of the implementation of the 2022 Budget.“Any further delay in concluding the process of enacting the Electoral Bill 2021 will directly impact INEC’s preparations for the 2023 General Election,” the memo reads in part.“This is going to be the last budget that would be fully implemented for 12 months in the life of the Ninth Senate.” Aftwewards, Seun Okinbaloye, host of the town hall meeting, said: “It is not only one drafting error, I have 10… 17, I can pass it on to you.We therefore, need to supervise very closely,” Lawan said.“I totally disagree that there is an error.

The Senate President assured that the Senate would develop a strategy of engagement with revenue generating agencies on how to make them achieve their targets and generate more revenues in 2022.According to him, this would reduce the country’s dependence on external borrowing to fund critical infrastructural projects.“Which version are you using, is it the version of Yiaga or the version that is with the National Assembly? There must be a reference copy.I totally disagree that there is error.“Distinguished Colleagues, funding of the 2022 Budget is predicated on significant borrowing.Our country is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.ALSO READ: Electoral Bill: Why direct primary is not feasible – Jega “Which copy are you using? Is it a file copy or the copy of an NGO?” Mr Bashiru said fuming as he constantly interrupted the programme anchor.“We have to construct and provide infrastructure, in all parts of our country because infrastructure is needed for our nation to develop.” Advertisement “You cannot come on national television and undermine the institution of the national assembly without facts and figures,” he added.

“However, we do not generate enough revenues to fund the provision of such infrastructure.“It is not a public document.Until more revenues are generated, the country has to borrow and also resort to other sources of funding our infrastructural development.But we cannot continue to borrow endlessly.However, contrary to Mr Bashiru’s position, the spokesperson for the House of Representative, Benjamin Kalu, who also joined the meeting virtually, admitted that there were indeed errors in the bill.”.“It is imperative that we need to improve on the revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio.At about 8% Revenue to GDP ratio, our country is basically at 50% of what is required of the revenue to GDP of 15% for it to support any significant economic development.“Let me speak about the errors.

“Distinguished Colleagues, the Senate will develop a strategy of engagement with revenue generating agencies on how to make them achieve their targets and generate more revenues in 2022.“The Senate will ensure that we boost their revenue generating drive with a view to reducing borrowing for development of our much needed infrastructure.“On the 29th of December, I received a letter from Yiaga regarding some of the errors – I’m talking about Clause 24(sub 4), Clause 8… Clause 64 (7) and (8), Clause 91(2), Clause 107(3), Clause 137 and 138 and subheads.This is a major challenge for our development and we need to treat as such,” he said.Lawan underscored the need for the upper chamber to seriously supervise the implementation of the PIA 2021, so as to enable the country benefit from its passage.“We are partners in this project and what we have done is to immediately send it to the Speaker to look at,” Mr Kalu said.He added that the Senate must continue to prioritize the Security and welfare of citizens as enshrined in the constitution, while urging Nigerians not to despair as a result of the security challenges confronting the nation.

On plans by the chamber to review the 1999 Constitution, he said, “Our Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution has done so much work so far.At the end, the meeting asked the National Assembly, which reconvenes on Tuesday after the Christmas break, to expunge the direct primary clause from the bill and re-transmit it to the president for assent.“Working with their counter parts in the House of Representatives the report of the Committee will be presented to the Senate for consideration soon.“The Senate will consider the report and the National Assembly will communicate to the State Houses of Assembly within the first quarter of this year.”.

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