…approves N243.375bn budget for FCT
By Christiana Ekpa
Just one week to the exit of the 8th Assembly, the House of Representatives Tuesday passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) and South-East Development Commission Bill.
President Muhammadu Buhari had declined assent to the harmonised PIGB and 47 others transmitted by the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA) between June 2015 and May 2019.
According to the communication sent by Mr. President, it was observed that:
‘The provision of the Bill permitting the Petroleum Regulatory commission to retain as much as 10% of the revenue generated unduly increases the funds accruing to the Petroleum Regulatory commission to the detriment of the revenue available to the Federal, States, Federal capital Territory and Local governments in the country.
“b) Expanding the scope of Petroleum equalisation fund and some provisions in divergence from this administration’s policy and indeed conflicting provisions on independent petroleum equalisation fund.
“c) Some legislative drafting concerns which, if Assented to in the form presented will create ambiguity and conflict in interpretation.”
After the passage of the clause by clause of the bill at the plenary, Speaker of the House Yakubu Dogara who chaired the Committee of the Whole explained that the House has addressed all the grey areas raised by the Executive.
He disclosed that both Chambers had passed the bill earlier before it was returned by the President who raised some concerns.
Dogara affirmed that every observation raised by the President and the Executive arm of government has been taken care of and cleaned up.
Similarly, the House passed the Bill which seeks to establish the South-East Development Commission to serve as catalyst to develop the commercial potentials of the South-Eas, receive and manage funds from allocation of the Federation for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and repatriation for houses and lostrich businesses of victims of the civil war and address any other environmental or developmental challenges and for related matters.
Other bills passed by the House on Tuesday after consideration at the Committee of the Whole are: Stamp Duties and Proceeds Act, Cap. S8, LFN, 2004 to meet current realities; bill to establish the National Research and Innovation Council, National Research and Innovation Foundation to set national priorities on research, innovation and development; bill to establish Nigerian Search and Rescue Service to ensure a coordinated and effective Aeronautical Search a few Rescue Service within the Nigerian search and rescue regions as well as a Bill to establish the Nigerian Shoreline Development and Protection Agency charged with responsibility for management and administration of sea weaves on the nation’s coastline.
Speaking after the passage of the bills, Dogara assured that the bills will be transmitted to the Presidency for assent.
Also at plenary, the House approved the sum of N243.375 billion Appropriation bill for Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the year 2019.
Breakdown of the fund shows that the sum of N55.043 billion is for personnel cost, N57.610 billion is for overhead cost while the sum of N130.721 billion is for capital expenditure