Legislature has lived up to expectations
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, said the legislature had kept its promise to Nigerians with transparent deliberations and passage of the 2017 Appropriation Bill.
He assured that the bill would be signed next week.
Dogara stated this in his address at the opening of a “Special Session’’ to mark the second anniversary of the 8th Assembly on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, the house carried out significant budget reforms “for the first time in the history of Nigeria’’.
He said that a public hearing was conducted at the National Assembly to get the input of Nigerians in the budgetary process.
He said that reforms introduced included the details of the Appropriation Bill being made available to all members before passage at the plenary.
Also introduced, he said, was requirement that members of committee should sign report of their committees before it would be sent to the Committee on Appropriations.
“All these novel measures are unprecedented in the history of our parliament.
“These proactive measures ensured that the debate and consideration of the 2017 budget by the house was evidence-based and geared towards galvanizing the economy for greater growth.”
Dogara said that a total of 126 Bills were passed by the House during the period and that others were at various stages in the legislative mill.
He said that 27 Bills had received presidential assent, adding that each of the “achievements highlighted above is unsurpassed by any previous Assembly.
“The sheer volume of these Bills attests to the vibrancy of the House in its attempt to legislate on key areas of our national life at a very trying time in our history”.
The speaker also said that the lower chamber received no fewer than 500 public petitions during the period.
He said that the Committee on Public Petitions conducted hearing on petitions “almost every week’’ to ensure that citizens had access to the legislature.
He also said that the house considered and passed bills designed to stimulate economic growth and promote competition.
Dogara said that the bills included “Bill for an Act establishing Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’’.
According to him, this legislation has the potential to engender innovation and efficient allocation of resources, eliminate barriers to entry and restrictive trade practices in the market.
He said it would have positive impact on the quality of goods and services and their prices in the interest of the Nigerian consumer.
On workers’ welfare, the speaker said that the house had introduced a Bill on new minimum wage aimed at promoting the welfare and well-being of workers, especially in the light of changing economic realities.
“For us, it is unacceptable that the average Nigerian worker is shut out from the promise of democracy, which is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
“Our democracy must be made to work for all Nigerians, including our workers, who must have the tools with which to pursue happiness while in active service or in retirement.’’
On the legislature’s part in the fight against corruption, Dogara said that the house was working in tandem with the executive in the effort to stamp out corruption in the country.