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Reps move against executive’s power to fix charges

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Electricity Distribution Company

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House of Representatives yesterday moved to control the power of the executive to unilaterally increase, reduce or determine charges on products consumed in the country.

The proposed legislation is titled “a bill for an act to abrogate the legislative powers delegated to the executive, administrative, judicial and other offices, officers, agencies and authority.”

It seeks to curb any such power aimed at the “determination, imposition, increase, cancellation, withdrawal or reduction of taxes, duties, tariff and fees and to prohibit the exercise of such powers without the approval of the National Assembly.”

The proposal is pursuant to Section 59 (1b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

If passed into law, it would ensure that such adjustments, including increase in oil price, receive the approval of the parliament before becoming effective.

Garba Datti Muhammed introduced the proposal, which passed second reading and referred to Committee on Justice, on the floor yesterday.

Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, Datti said it was intended to retrieve the Constitutional power of the National Assembly, adding that the powers in the hands of the executive were being abused.

He listed areas of such abuses as the increase of driver licence fee, electricity tariff, water rate, and fuel pump price among others.

In his contribution, Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, said before charges are increased or reduced, they must be subjected to the scrutiny of the National Assembly.



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