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Vetoed bills rise to 41 as Buhari rejects two more

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President Muhammadu Buhari has again declined assent to two more bills transmitted to him by the National Assembly.

This brings to 41 the total number of bills President Buhari declined assent to since the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly on June 9, 2015.

Buhari conveyed his refusal to assent to the two bills – Nigeria Tourism Development Authority Bill and Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority Bill – in two separate letters sent to Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and read at plenary on Wednesday.

Giving reasons for declining assent, the president said Section 14(d), Section 30(2d) of the Nigeria Tourism Development Authority (Repeal and re-enactment) bill contradicts section 4 (1-3) and paragraph 60 (d) of the second schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended).

He stated that “Section 30 of the bill proposing to levy a tourism fee on all in-bound international travellers, a tourism levy on all out-bound travellers and a tourism departure contribution fee of one per cent per hotel room rate.

“Such flat fee has been fixed by the authority and a corporate tourism development levy of 1 per cent to be charged on the revenue of banks, telecommunications and other corporate entities. This will be inimical to the growth of the tourism and hospitality industry in Nigeria and constitute additional burden on the tourism business,” the letter reads as Mr Buhari’s second reason.

The President said he was rejecting the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority Bill based on the issue of funding and overlap of functions.

According to him, “The comprehensive definition of the Nigeria Inland Waterways covers virtually all rivers, lakes and lagoons irrespective of the location of the body. The bill contradicts provisions of the constitution which limits the power of the National Assembly to make laws in relation to water from sources affecting more than one state of inland waterways which has been declared to be an international waterway or inter-state waterway.

“The bill as currently drafted subject the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Environment and Nigeria Ports Authority to the supervision of the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority.

“The funding provision of the bill which seeks to appropriate 25 per cent of the ports development levy annually, 15 per cent of the ecological fund annually and 1 per cent of the funds accruable to the federal government for oil and gas within the cleared waterways and the right of way and 2.5 per cent fees annually paid by companies operating power plants within waterways are grossly excessive and will negatively affect the revenues of the federal government,” President Buhari further said.

Just last week, the President declined assent to the second version of the National Transport Commission Bill.

In a letter addressed to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, President Buhari noted that some sections of the National Transport Commission Bill contained safety regulations that would duplicate the functions of existing transport agencies.

In April, the President equally rejected the Nigerian Correctional Service Bill, increasing the number of declined bills from 38 to 39.

Similarly, in March, the President had rejected eight new bills passed by the National Assembly.

The bills included the controversial National Housing Fund Bill, Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill, Nigerian Aeronautical Search and Rescue Bill, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency Bill and National Biotechnology Development Agency Bill.

Others were the National Institute of Credit Administration Bill, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Bill and the Chattered Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill.

Other bills earlier rejected by Buhari since 2015 include the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Amendment Bill, Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Est.) Bill, National Research and Innovation Council (Est.) Bill and National Agricultural Seeds Council Bill.

Also rejected were: Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill, Chattered Institute of Entrepreneurship (Est.) Bill, Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Amendment) Bill, Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences (Amendment) Bill and six constitution amendment bills.

Others include: Nigerian Film Corporation Bill, Immigration (Amendment) Bill, Climate Change Bill, Chattered Institute of Pension Practitioners Bill, Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, National Transport Commission Bill, Federal Road Authority (Establishment) Bill, National Broadcasting Commission Amendment Bill, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act (Amendment) Bill and Federal Polytechnics Act (Amendment) Bill.

The President also rejected the four versions of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill passed by the Eighth National Assembly.

In a statement issued last month, Senate President, Bukola Saraki had revealed that Executive arm of government headed by Buhari sponsored 11 bills in the last four years.


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