*Seeks to borrow $2.7b, $82.5m from Int’l Cap. Mkt.
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a letter read yesterday by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, disclosed that he has declined assent to about twelve bills passed by the Senate before its annual recess due to some inconsistencies which he said will affect the smooth running of government activities as presently in effect.
In addition, the President has also forwarded a letter to the Senate seeking to borrow two sums of $2.786 billion and $82.54 million from the international capital market to finance the implementation of new external borrowing approved in the 2018 Appropriation Act.
According to the letter, sent to the Senate, by President Buhari, the $2.786 billion, which will be in Eurobonds and other securities in the International Capital Market, will be used for the part financing of the 2018 budget’s fiscal deficit, as well as to finance the key infrastructure projects in the 2018 budget.
The twelve bills rejected by the President included: Chartered Institute of Entrepreneurship (Establishment) Bill, 2018, which he said is not necessary because entrepreneurs have various existing options to hone their skills, including universities that offer entrepreneurship studies.
“The Proposed Bill may constrain citizen’s rights and freedom of action”, the letter said.
Also rejected is the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, which the President said if signed into law, will deprive the states and local governments of their share of stamp duties revenues.
He also expressed fear that the Bill’s proposal to impose stamp duties on savings accounts and electronic transactions, will hinder the implementation of financial inclusion strategy, e-payment programme and cashless banking policy of government.
Also, one of the bills rejected by the President is Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018, which the President said will affect the operation of elections by INEC, coupled with some drafting issues that may affect the interpretation and application of the principal Act.
President Buhari also rejected five Constitution Amendment Bills, including Bills No. 8, 15, 22, 24, and 28, which he said are marred by inconsistencies and errors; and needed to be redrafted.
Other Bills rejected, to which the President declined assent to, are: Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) (Amendment) Bill 2018, Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences (Amendment) Bill 2017, which he said reduced the punishment to offenders.
Also, the National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Establishment) Bill 2018, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agencies (Amendment) Bill, 2017, the National Research and Innovation Council (Establishment) Bill, 2017, National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Establishment) Bill and National Agricultural Seeds Council Bill, 2018, which he said is a repetition of existing laws, which he said will create confusion as to the proper authority to regulate crop varieties in Nigeria.
The last in the list of the Bill rejected is the Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill, 2018. This, the President said, will slow down the administrative process for implementing agencies, especially given that it allows no room for administrative discretion based on administrative experience.