Senate passes PIGB, 6 others; begins process of overriding Buhari’s veto4 min read

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as process scales second reading
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – THE Senate has begun the process of overriding President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto
on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(Fourth Alteration, No.28)Bill, 2018.

Senate

It was one of the bills the President had declined assent to out of the several bills that were passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to him to sign into law.

The biil which has to do with the budget timeline, eeks to amend the 1999 Constitutional by making it mandatory for the President and Governor of a state to lay the annual budget estimates before parliament, three months to the end of a financial year.

Tagged: SB. 733, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 28) Bill, the proposed legislation, which scaled First Reading on Tuesday, passed Second Reading during Wednesday plenary.

The bill which is ponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, PDP, Enugu West, yesterday scaled second reading.

It would be recalled that President Buhari had in 2018 declined assent to the constitution amendment bill on the grounds that Section 2 (b) and 3 (b) of the proposal ‘appear not to take full cognizance of the provisions of Section 58 (4) of the 1999 constitution’.

The move to override President Buhari’s veto was sequel to Senate consideration and adoption of the report of the Senator David Umaru, APC, Niger East led Technical Committee on Declined Assent to bills by the President .

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While rejecting the President’s submission, the David Umaru-led panel had posited that the bill was not in conflict with the 1999 constitution, as claimed by the President.

The purpose of the bill, the Committee had explained, was to ensure that Nigeria reverts to the January to December budget cycle.

“It should be understood that this Bill seeks to make it mandatory for Mr. President and Governor of a State to cause to be prepared and laid before parliament, estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the Federation for the next following financial year, not later than ninety (90) days to the end of a financial year. And for the parliament to pass the Appropriation Bill before the commencement of the next financial year.

“The legislative intent behind this Bill Is to ensure that we run a normal financial year. From the wordings of the provisions, there was no stipulation that Mr. President must assent to any Bill within a specified period.

“Therefore, the provision of section 58(4), which Mr. President made reference to, does not apply in this regard. On the whole, we respectfully submit that the Bill is not in conflict with the provision of section 58(4) of the Constitution as implied by Mr. President.

“It is therefore, our concerted view that the Senate should override Mr. President’s veto.”

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Also yesterday, five other constitution amendment bills earlier rejected by the President, passed Second Reading.

Unlike the budget timeline bill, the five other bills will be presented to the President for assent.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki who presided over the session, referred the bills to the Committee on Constitutional Review.

Also yesterday, the Senate passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, 2019; National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Bill, 2019;National Research and Innovation Council Bill, 2019; Stamp Duties Act(Amendment) Bill, 2019;Na6 Agricultural Seed Council Bill, 2019; Agricultural CreditGuarantee Scheme Fund(Amendment) Bill, 2019 and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Act (Amendment)Bill,2019.

Pres6 Buhari had declined assent to the bills and they will be forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

According to ANNEXURE 6, major Amendments in the Constitution Amendment Bill, reads, “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 Natnonal Assembly or House of Assembly; and for related matters.

“ENACTED by the National Assembly of the F ederal Republic of Nigeria -1. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (in this Act referred to as “the Principal Act”) is altered as set out in this Bill.

Section 81 of the Principal Act is altered by –

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Section 81. (a) substituting for subsection (1), a new subsection “(1)”

“(1) The President shall cause to be prepared and laid before each House of the National Assembly not later than ninety days to the end of a financial year, estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the Federation for the next following financial year”; and

(b) inserting, after subsection (1), a new subsection “(1A)”

“(1A) The National Assembly shall pass the Appropriation Bill before the commencement of the next financial year.”

3. Section 121 of the Principal Act is altered by
(a) substituting for subsection (1), a new subsection “(1)” The Governor shall cause to be prepared and laid before the House of Assembly not later than ninety days to the end of a financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the State for the next following financial year”; and

(b) inserting, after subsection ( 1), a new subsection “(1A)”

“(1A) The House of Assembly shall pass the Appropriation Bill before the commencement of the next financial year.” 4. This Act may be cited as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 28) Bill, 2018.”

According to the Explanatory Memorandum, “This Act provides for the time which the President or Governor shall lay the Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly or House of Assembly to encourage early presentation and passage.”