Five reasons Reps threw out bill seeking NNPC budget approval

The House of Representatives, yesterday, threw out a bill which sought to compel the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to submit its budget directly to the Legislature for approval.

The bill, which sought to amend the NNPC Act, 2004 to “stipulate legislative approval for the budgetary expenditure to enhance financial and fiscal discipline in the conduct of transactions” by the corporation was sponsored by Nnanna Igbokwe.

Leading debate on the bill at yesterday’s plenary, Igbokwe said the amendment was aimed at bringing the NNPC Act in conformity with Fiscal Responsibility Act. He said even though the NNPC and other agencies qre expected to submit their budget to the legislature, they, often times, failed to do so, because there is no law compelling them.

“It’s important for us to make it law so it becomes compulsory. We should make it to be in conformity with extant laws.
A lot of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) do not bring their budget to the National Assembly because their Act says they should submit to the minister. It negates the principal of checks and balances.”

In his contribution, Ossai Nicholas Ossai said the amendment was necessary to “cure” existing deficiency in NNPC Act.

However, Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, in opposing the bill, said the proposed amendments would run contrary to other extant laws.
He said even though the NNPC is expected to submit its budget to the president, the latter knows it is not within his purview to approve it.

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“If the law states that they take the budget to the president, the president knows he cannot approve that budget.”
After the debate, it was thrown out as the chamber voted against it.

Meanwhile, the House has passed for Second Reading, a Bill for an Act to provide a legal framework for the mainstreaming of Climate Change responses and actions into government policy formulation and implementation.

Sponsored by Sam Onuigbo, the bill also seeks the establishment of the National Climate Change Council.

In his lead debate, Onuigbo said the bill consisting of seven parts and 26 clauses seeks to provide practical solutions to the challenges of climate change in the country.

The lawmaker traced the recent spike in communal clashes, especially between farmers and herdsmen to the devastating effects of climate. He said shrinking of Lake Chad has led to dramatic reduction in agricultural activities in the North-East, causing migration of herdsmen to areas occupied by farmers and others.

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