How Buhari rejected 40 bills – Vanguard

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By Henry Umoru, Assistant Political Editor PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, declined assent to additional bills approved and sent to him by the National Assembly to sign into law. In separate letters to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and read at Plenary, Buhari conveyed his decision to withdraw assent to the two bills-Nigeria Tourism Development Authority Bill and Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority. President Muhammadu Buhari signs Instrument of Ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in State House on 28th March 2017 The rejection of the two bills brings to 40 the total number of bills President Buhari declined assent to since the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly on June 9, 2015. According to President Buhari, he refused to sign into law, the Nigeria Tourism Development Authority (Repeal and re-enactment) bill because section 14(d), section 30(2d) of the Nigeria Tourism Development Authority (Repeal and re-enactment) bill contradict section 4 (1-3) and paragraph 60 (d) of the second schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended). The President said: “Section 30 of the bill is proposing to levy a tourism fee on all in-bound international travellers, a tourism levy on all out-bound travellers and a tourism departure contribution fee of one per cent per hotel room rate. “Such flat fee has been fixed by the authority and a corporate tourism development levy of 1 per cent to be charged on the revenue of banks, telecommunications and other corporate entities. This will be inimical to the growth of the tourism and hospitality industry in Nigeria and constitute additional burden on the tourism business.’’ The president anchored his rejection of the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority Bill on funding and overlap of functions. His words: “The comprehensive definition of the Nigeria Inland Waterways covers virtually all rivers, lakes and lagoons irrespective of the location of the body. The bill contradicts provisions of the constitution which limits the power of the National Assembly to make laws in relation to water from sources affecting more than one state of inland waterways which has been declared to be an international waterway or inter-state waterway. “The bill as currently drafted subject the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Environment and Nigeria Ports Authority to the supervision of the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority. “The funding provision of the bill which seeks to appropriate 25 per cent of the ports development levy annually, 15 per cent of the ecological fund annually and 1 per cent of the funds accruable to the federal government for oil and gas within the cleared waterways and the right of way and 2.5 per cent fees annually paid by companies operating power plants within waterways are grossly excessive and will negatively affect the revenues of the federal government.” Other rejected bills One of the rejected bills was the electoral amendment Act bill that was rejected four times,the last reason being that if signed into law, it was going to be injurious to the recently concluded general elections. Among the rejected bills are five that sought to amend different sections of the constitution as well as two bills that intended to amend the Electoral Act. Giving  reasons for rejecting the Electoral Act amendment bill, President Buhari said there were some drafting issues that may affect the interpretation and application of the Principal Act. According to him, some of the proposed amendments may adversely affect the operation of elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. As for the second Electoral Act amendment bill, the president said it has the unintended consequence of leaving INEC with only nine days to collate and compile lists of candidates and political parties as well as manage the primaries of 91 political parties for the various elections. One of the bills seeking to amend the constitution was for an annual State of the Nation Address by the president. But Buhari said Section 7 of the bill might need to be redrafted to clearly indicate that it is Section 109 (1) (e) of the constitution that is being amended. “Also, there are existing laws that cater for legislative Service Commissions. Finally, prescribing a specific date in the 1999 Constitution for an annual State of the Nation Address may create practical challenges in diarizing this event.” Giving the reason for rejecting another constitutional amendment bill, Buhari said some of the functions proposed to be undertaken by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps are currently the responsibility of other agencies of government. Yet another bill the president declined assent is the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Amendment bill. According to him he took the action to enable ongoing consultations by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment with relevant agencies on tax holidays incentive regime for expansion projects, investments in rural areas as well as for agriculture/agro-processing to be included. Rejecting the Immigration Bill, the President said he did that because it would have adverse effect on Nigeria’s position on the Ease of Doing Business ranking, just as he said that the Chattered Institute of Pension Practitioners Bill amounted to duplication of functions with an existing institute. According to President Buhari, he rejected the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (Amendment ) Bill because the bill will interfere with and obstruct the smooth administration of revenue generating agencies of the federal government aside other infractions on extant laws. He added that if signed into law, the Bill will confer the powers of oversight of the revenue currently vested in the President and the Minister of Finance to the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission and negate the existing provisions of Section 51 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service. For the Maritime Security Operations Bill, the President said that he refused assent to it because the proposed amendments will create distortions and duplications with the functions and operations of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA. The President however urged the Senate to focus on passing the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Bill that was currently before the National Assembly to achieve a more comprehensive review of operations in the maritime sector, within the objective of realigning its agencies for more efficient service delivery and focus on the security of the country’s maritime frontiers. While he cited drafting errors as reason for refusal of assent to Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill, the President kicked against the move to weaken his power in the approval and removal of Governing Council members of Federal Polytechnics as envisioned in the rejected bill. On the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency Bill, 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly, the President declined assent because, “Section 32 of the bill introduces (i) 2.5% levy on the profit before tax of the target companies which will increase the tax burdens of the companies while offering no direct benefit to them; (11)a 1 % levy on imports which will also add to the cost of doing business in the country (111) a 5% Ievy on luxury goods which duplicates efforts by the Federal Ministry of Finance to raise excise on such goods in a more sustainable manner to the benefit of the Fel eral Government treasury; “The Agency will have similar objectives as the Bank of Industry particularly with regard to the funding of Small and Medium Enterprises. Accordingly, it is important to streamline its function to avoid a duplication or overlap of functions with other government institutions performing similar functions; and the Bill has the likelihood of increasing public recurrent expenditure by the proposed creation of new public sector bodies.” On the rejected Energy Commission ( Amendment) Bill, President Buhari said its provisions infringe on the Rural Electrification Agency ‘s power and mandates with particular reference to the promotion and development of unserved and under served rural communities across Nigeria. True Muslims don’t engage in killings — Islamic cleric He however, transmitted to the federal lawmakers an executive bill titled : “Transmission of the Food Safety and Quality Bill 2018”, for consideration and passage. Buhari said that he refused to sign the Federal Roads Authority Bill into law because it would make the entire technical supervisory ministry, the Transportation Ministry become redundant. Giving reasons for his declining assent to Federal Roads Authority (Establishment) Bill 2018 President Buhari in a letter dated 12, December, 2018, said: “ The establishment of the road sector regulator as a separate and distinctive body in Part 6 of the bill is capable of rendering the entire technical workforce of the supervisory ministry redundant. “The supervisory power of the ministry over the road sector would be taken over by the road sector regulator and leave the ministry without the power to exercise its supervisory role. “I feel the ministry would have little or no desirable role to play in the road sector having regard to the fact that ownership and management of roads would be vested in the road sector regulator such that the supervisory powers would be exercise by it, leaving the ministry without any clear statutory function.” In another letter, President while giving reasons for his refusal to sign the Transport Commission Bills, said: “I am declining assent because One, safety regulatory provisions enshrined in some sections of the bill which are technical in nature fall within the purview of central legislations implemented by agencies like NIMASA, NPA, NIWA and therefore should be expunged from the bill. “Two, the percentage of the amount to be retained by the agency from royalties collected under section 19 (2)(d) should be reduced from 10 to five per cent. Section 12 (9)(2)(d) stipulates that a portion of the proceeds from royalties collected by by the authority empowered to collect royalties from transport service providers should not exceed 10 per cent which is collected by service providers and concessionaires. “Three, section 19 (2)(f) which stipulates charge of three per cent freight tariff stabilisation fee on all imports due and exports out of Nigeria including wet and dry cargoes should be amended and reduced from three per cent to one per cent as this is what is currently contained in the Nigerian Shippers Council legislation.” Osinbajo averts impending unrest, calms FCT protesters One of the bills rejected lately is the controversial National Housing Fund Bill. Other bills earlier rejected by Buhari since 2015 include: Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) (Amendment) Bill National Research and Innovation Council (Est.) Bill, National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Est.) Bill and National Agricultural Seeds Council Bill Chattered Institute of Entrepreneurship (Est.) Bill Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences (Amendment) Bill Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Amendment) Bill National Transport Commission Bill Federal Road Authority (Establishment) Bill, National Broadcasting Commission Amendment Bill National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act (Amendment) Bill; and Federal Polytechnics Act (Amendment) Bill Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill Nigerian Aeronautical Search and Rescue Bill, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency Bill National Biotechnology Development Agency Bill National Institute of Credit Administration Bill Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Bill Chattered Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill Nigerian Film Corporation Bill, Immigration (Amendment) Bill, Climate Change Bill, Chattered Institute of Pension Practitioners Bill Digital Rights and Freedom Bill. Vanguard