UPDATED: Senate reconsiders, passes PIGB, six bills rejected by Buhari

Nigerian senate chambers where senators attend plenary
Nigerian senate chambers

The Senate on Wednesday reconsidered the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) which was rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The PIGB and six other bills were passed after the Senate’s technical committee worked on Mr Buhari’s observations and re-drafted the affected clauses.

The Senate will wait for harmonisation with the House of Representatives after which the bills will be transmitted to the president for assent.

Members of the lower chamber are, however, yet to reconsider the bills.

The PIGB is one of four parts of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which seeks to update the outdated provisions with a more comprehensive and current petroleum industry law that aligns with global standards. The president, earlier in July 2018, rejected the bill.

The presidential aide on National Assembly matters, Ita Enang, had in August 2018 explained why the president rejected the document.

He said the provision of the bill permitting the Petroleum Regulatory Commission to retain as much as 10 per cent of the revenue generated unduly increases the funds accruing to the commission ”to the detriment of the revenue available to the Federal, States and Local governments as well as the Federal Capital Territory”.

He also said the president felt that expanding the scope of Petroleum Equalisation Fund made some provisions of the draft law to be in divergence from his administration’s policy and ”indeed conflicted with provisions on the Fund”.

The Senate also reconsidered six other bills rejected by the president.

They are the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Bill, National Research and Innovation Council Bill and Stamp Duties Act (Amendment) Bill.

Others are the National Agricultural Seed Council Bill, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund and Independent National Electoral Commission Act 2010(Amendment) Bill.

Second look

The reconsideration of the bills comes a week after the Senate resolved to override the president on two bills: the constitution amendment (Fourth Alteration No. 28) Bill 1999, and the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) amendment Bill. These bills were, however, not part of the seven bills reconsidered by the Senate.

The Senate had also resolved to rework and pass 15 other bills.

Before the reconsideration and passage, the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, noted that the rationale for withholding the assent bordered on the observation by the president on some clauses in the Bills.

He said the technical committee of the Senate worked on Mr Buhari’s “observations and have drafted the affected Clauses.”

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, thereafter, directed the Clerk of the Senate to include the observations into the bills.

The Senate also passed for second reading, six bills for amendments to various sections of the Constitution.

This comes nine months after the Senate voted to amend key elements of the country’s constitution.

They are:

-A bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 to provide immunity for members of the legislature in respect with of words spoken or written at plenary sessions or committee proceedings or any socialized legislative bureaucracy in the constitution and for related matters 2019

-A bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 to replace the name ‘Nigeria Police Force’ with ‘Nigerian Police’ to reflect their core mandate of providing civil services and for related matters, 2019.

-A bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 to further strengthen the judiciary for speedy dispensation of justice and related matters, 2019.

-A bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 to reflect the establishment and core functions of the Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corps and for related matters, 2019.

-A bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 to provide for the procedure for passing the constitutional alteration bill where the president withholds assent and for a related matter, 2019.

-A bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 to specify the period within which the president or governor of a state presents the appropriation bill before the national assembly or house of assembly and for related matters, 2019.

The bills were read for the second time and referred to the Senate committee on constitutional review for more legislative work and they are to report back on Thursday.

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