Senate president, Bukola Saraki
Senate president, Bukola Saraki

-PIB debates begins this week

SENATE will today consider a motion on the high level of unemployment in the country, with a view to proffering solution on how to curb the trend. The motion entitled ‘Intolerable Upswing of Unemployment in Nigeria,’ according to the Senate’s Notice Paper for this week, is among other matters to engage the red chamber’s attention this week. Sponsored by the lawmaker representing Ekiti North, Senator Duro Faseyi, the motion will specifically call on the nation’s security outfits to engage more Nigerian youths as a veritable means of reducing unemployment and boosting security across the country. Other motions to be considered, according to the Notice Paper, are the need to decongest the Nigerian risons, need to give Kogi and Anambra States recognition as oil producing states, provision of medical attention for critical condition victims, and the need to determine the status of N90billion dividends in securities for Nigeria investors. Others include urgent need to investigate special funds accrued to the federation as provided by the Revenue Allocation Act, 2004, and the rehabilitation of prison inmates through agricultural training programmes run by the Nigerian Prison Service. Also slated for consideration during the week are the Bills for an Act to provide for the governance and institutional framework for the petroleum industry, popularly referred to as the PIB, Establishment of the Public Private Partnership Regulatory Commission, the Customs Act (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill, and a Bill for an Act to repeal the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. Also to be discussed are the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Act (amendment) Bill, 2016, the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), and a Bill to provide for Establishment of Federal Entrepreneurship Centres at Local Government Areas. A cursory look at the activities of the Senate this week shows that it is poised to speedily pass critical bills with bearing on the economy and other social challenges like unemployment confronting the country. … begins debate on PIB this week Senate will this week focus its deliberation on the passage of the Petroleum Industry (governance) Bill, otherwise known as PIB. According to the Notice Paper of the upper chamber of the National Assembly, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, will also be considered on Wednesday in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007. The PIB will lead other major issues which the Senate will focus on in the week, as passage of the law forms the crux of the legislative efforts aimed at repositioning the economy. The Bill to be known as Bill for an Act to Provide for the Governance and Institutional Framework for the Petroleum Industry and for other related matters, 2016,’ will be moved for second reading by Senator Tayo Aladura, who is chairman of the Committee for Upstream Petroleum Sector. The PIB, which had been in the National Assembly for almost a decade, has now been broken into different bills to address various aspects of the oil industry. The plan, according to Senate President Bukola Saraki, is to ensure that the aspects of the old laws that are not controversial are quickly passed while the other areas that require more consultations will come later. Senators from the Niger Delta area had moved for the suspension of the bill some months ago because they believed that the noninclusion of the demands of oil communities may aggravate the tension in the oil producing areas. It was learnt yesterday that this group of Senators will hold a meeting next Monday to deliberate on the resuscitation and how to ensure that the work on its passage move at a top speed. The plan is to ensure that the PIB is passed before the end of the legislative sitting for 2016, it was further learnt. The debate on MTEF was suspended last week to enable the lawmakers get necessary information to empower them from point of knowledge. There are five other Bills slated for second reading next week, which may help the revival of the economy. They include the Bill for an Act to Repeal the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, which is aimed at establishing a Foreign Exchange market and to provide for the control, monitoring and supervision of the transactions conducted in the foreign exchange market as well as the Bill to repeal and re-enact the Customs Act. Also to be discussed next week are the Bill to establish the Public Private Partnership Regulatory Commission, the Bill for an Act to provide for a Legal Framework for the Cassava Inclusion Policy of the federal government to encourage cassava farming and other matters, and Bill for an Act to provide for the Establishment of Federal Entrepreneurship Centres at Local Government Areas. Eight other bills passed to the Senate by the House of Representatives for concurrence are to be discussed on Thursday while 13 reports from various committees will be discussed.

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