OrderPaperToday – President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to some bills forwarded to it by the National Assembly. Reasons for rejecting the bills range from drafting inconsistencies and conflict with the constitution of the country.
The bills include: Revenue mobilization, allocation and fiscal commission amendment bill, 2018, bankruptcy and insolvency bill, 2018, Federal polytechnic amendment bill, 2018, Maritime security operations coordinating board amendment bills 2018 and Energy commission amendment bill, 2018.
Reading the letters from Mr. President at plenary on Thursday, the presiding officer and Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, noted that Buhari’s decisions to veto the bills is in accordance with section 58(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The President’s reservation on the revenue mobilization, allocation and fiscal commission (amendment) bill is that it will interfere and obstruct the commission’s oversight and administration of revenue generating agencies of the federal government.
He explained: “The bill will confer the powers of oversight of the revenue currently vested in the President and Minister of Finance to the revenue mobilization, allocation and fiscal commission and negate the existing provision of section 51 Federal Inland Revenue Services.
“The proposed insertion in a section 6 (a) of the bill with regards to the removal of earns of generating revenue agencies needs to be harmonized with the various establishment acts of these agencies which contains specific terms and procedures for the removal of chief executive officers.”
On the bankruptcy and insolvency bill, he highlighted drafting issues that might affect the clarity and impede the effective operation of the bill. He said: “For instance, section 65 (1) imposes a duty on a banker to report the existence of the account of an undischarged bankrupt to the trustees as it is incumbent on the banker to both ascertain that the customer is an undischarged bankrupt and also locate the relevant trustee to provide the information about the account of such customer.
“This obligation creates operational difficulties. The duty of a banker to disclose information about accounts is better and it should be predicated on a request for information and trustee.
“A number of provisions in a bill to be properly domesticated and aligned to Nigerian law for instance, Section 87 capital stock should read capital, Section 87 (128, 147, 253, 264, 270) sub section 30 b to c and 270 (4) (a to b) should be changed to company which is what section 271 defines, section 124 (1) (d), the reference to dollar should be replaced with naira and 2000 dollars should be N2000, section 162 (a), the reference to cents on dollar should be amended to read kobo and naira.
“The relationship between the corporate insolvency provisions of the bill and existing provisions of winding up and insolvency under the companies and allied matters act needs to be clarified to avoid confusion in respect to the applicable governing corporate insolvency.”
For the federal polytechnic amendment bill the President proposed that section 16 (1) and (2) of the amended bill which subjects the removal of governing council members to rectors of polytechnics on the approval of the federal executive council to now be on his authorization making the removal process less administrative cumbersome.
He negates Section 3 (f) of the amendment bill which leaves membership of the governing council of polytechnics as consisting of representatives of the ministry or regulatory body and believes will ultimately jeopardize the supervisory role of the ministry or the council, instead he suggests the ministry’s presence in the council which makes it clear and unambiguous.
The Maritime Security Operations Coordinating Board Amendment Bill was vetoed because the proposed amendments will create distortions and duplications with the functions and operations of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
He rather offered the chamber focus on passing the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill currently with them 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 our maritime frontiers.
Finally, in pursuant to section 88(4) of the 1999 constitution President Buhari declined assent to Energy Commission Amendment Bill because the proposal in section 8 of the bill for the Commission to receive an annual subversion of not less than 0.5 percent from the federation account “is unconstitutional as it negates the clear provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended with regards to appropriations and disbursements from federation accounts.”
According to him, the bill infringes on the rural electrifications agency’s power to carry out its mandate in particular reference to the promotion and development of unserved and underserved rural communities across Nigeria.