Ninth Senate passes 6 bills into law within 6 months

By Oluwaseun Sonde

Within the first six months of its inauguration, the ninth Senate has passed SIX Bills into law, four of them members’ bills while the first of these bills is the Deep Off-shore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act CAP D3 LFN 2004 (Amendment Bill, 2019 to generate more revenues from the endowments

This was disclosed by the Senate President, Ibrahim Lawan while addressing the media at a Luncheon/Media Briefing in Rockview Hotel, Abuja on Monday.

While he declared open a public hearing on the Bill in October. “I had remarked that it had become absolutely necessary for us as a country to pass the Bill so that we can generate more revenues from our endowments. I had on that occasion assured that the National Assembly was determined to pass this bill and that it will be a precursor to our determination to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill next year.

“The Deep Off-shore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Bill has since been passed into an Act and was promptly assented into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on 4th November 2019. The passage and signing of this law demonstrate what two institutions can achieve when they are guided in their actions by patriotism”, he said.

He said this law will significantly increase accruals to the government from crude oil contracts. “It has also ended our years of inexplicable failure to call in returns due to us from our joint venture partners. As a result of this law, we have expanded a critical revenue stream and ensured more funds will flow into the treasury that will enable the government to execute its budgets and critical developmental projects.

“The two Executive bills that we passed are the Appropriation Bill, 2020 and the Finance Bill 2019. We passed the Finance Bill, 2019 on 21 November, 2019.

The Bill amended seven (7) existing tax and fiscal policy laws (Companies Income Tax Act, 2004; Value Added Tax Act, 2007; Customs and Excise Tariff (Consolidation) Act, 2004; Personal Income Tax Act, 2007; Capital Gains Tax Act, 2007; Stamp Duties Act, 2007; and Petroleum Profit Tax Act, 2004) to reform Nigeria’s tax system for enhanced implementation and effectiveness”, he said.

He added that the Federal Government took the initiative to reform the tax system so as to create an enabling business environment and reduce the tax burden for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

“We also promptly passed the Appropriation Bill in line with our commitment to changing the current unhealthy and unpredictable budget cycle to a January to December fiscal calendar. This structural change and the prompt passage of the Appropriation Bill will give the government a full year to implement the budget. We believe this measure will enhance planning, implementation and monitoring of the budget by the relevant organs and agencies and significantly improve our annual budget performance.

“The three other bills that we have passed are the Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) Bills, 2019; which we did to sanitize the public procurement process and curtail the incidence and influence of corruption. Aside from the six bills that were passed, 185 Bills have also gone through first reading in the ninth Senate, while 32 other Bills have passed second reading and are now undergoing the necessary further legislative processes at the relevant Senate Committees.

He said the ninth Senate’s loyalty as legislators is to the Nigerian people, the Constitution and the oath that we took at our inauguration. “I assure you that the ninth Senate and National Assembly will not betray the trust of the people. We are going to serve our fatherland with love and strength and faith”, he said.

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