President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to five new bills forwarded to him by the National Assembly in what seems to be turning to a regular and recurring decimal.
The bills are the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission Amendment Bill, 2018, Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill, 2018, Federal Polytechnic Amendment Bill, 2018, Maritime Security Operations Coordinating Board Amendment Bill 2018 and Energy Commission Amendment Bill, 2018.
Reading the rejection letters during plenary in the Senate, the presiding officer, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, noted that Buhari’s decisions to veto the bills are in accordance with section 58 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.
According to the letters, the president’s reservation on the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission Amendment Bill is that it will interfere and obstruct the commission’s motive and administration of revenue generating agencies of the Federal Government.
Part of the letter reads:
“The bill will confer the powers of oversight of the revenue currently vested in the President and the Minister of Finance to the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and negate the existing provision of section 51 of Federal Inland Revenue Services act.
The proposed insertion in section 6 (a) of the bill with regards to the removal of earns of generating revenue agencies needs to be harmonized with the various establishment acts of these agencies which contains specific terms and procedures for the removal of chief executive officers.”
On the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill, the president highlighted drafting issues that might affect the clarity and impede the effective operation of the bill.
“For instance, section 65 (1) imposes a duty on a banker to report the existence of the account of an undischarged bankruptcy to the trustees as it is incumbent on the banker to both ascertain that the customer is an undischarged bankrupt and also locate the relevant trustee to provide the information about the account of such customer.
This obligation creates operational difficulties. The duty of a banker to disclose information on accounts is better and it should be predicated on a request for information and trustee.
A number of provisions in a bill to be properly domesticated and aligned to Nigerian laws, for instance, section 87 capital stock should read capital;
Section 87 (128, 147, 253, 264, 270) subsection 30 (b) to (c) and 270 (4) (a to b) should be changed to company which is what section 271 defines;
Section 124 (1) (d), the reference to Dollar should be replaced with Naira and 2000 dollars should be N2000;
Section 162 (a), the reference to Cents on Dollar should be amended to read Kobo and Naira.
The relationship between the corporate insolvency provisions of the bill and existing provisions of winding up and insolvency under the Companies and Allied Matters Act needs to be clarified to avoid confusion in respect to the applicable governing corporate insolvency.”
For the Federal Polytechnic Amendment Bill, the president proposed that section 16 (1) and (2) of the amended bill which subjects the removal of governing council members to rectors of polytechnics on the approval of the federal executive council to now be on his authorization making the removal process less cumbersome.
The president also vetoed the Maritime Security Operations Coordinating Board Amendment Bill, because the proposed amendments will create distortions and duplication with the functions and operations of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
President Buhari also declined assent to the Energy Commission Amendment Bill because the proposal in section 8 of the bill for the Commission to receive an annual subversion of not less than 0.5 per cent from the federation account was ‘unconstitutional as it negates the clear provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended with regards to appropriations and disbursements from federation accounts.’
According to the president, the bill infringes on the rural electrification agency’s power to carry out its mandate in particular reference to the promotion and development of unserved and under-served rural communities across Nigeria.