Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, has promised that the Senate and National Assembly would pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, the Electoral Reform Bill before the end of the first quarter of the 2021 as part of it’s legacies.
In a message to mark end of the year, Senator Lawan, said “it is our utmost desire to make the passage of the PIB one of the legacies of the ninth National Assembly. Equally important is the passage of the Electoral Reform Amendment Bill.
“This is necessary in order to enhance the democratic process of free, fair, transparent and credible election.”
This pledge also extends to the amendment of the 1999 constitution, in 2021. In a statement to mark the incoming new year, made available to newsliks, the Senate president said that despite the outbreak of the Corona-Virus, the Upper Chamber had worked tirelessly towards ensuring that the country was not adversely affected by the pandemic.
“As a Legislature, we had prepared ahead for the vagaries that will for long be associated with 2020 by making the necessary legislation for facilitation of good governance and economic growth.
Ahead of the year, we had restructured our fiscal year to a more predictable January to December cycle and ensured that our budget for 2020 was ready for the new structure. We made the change to enhance economic activities and growth.”
Reading out the Senate priority list for the New Year, Lawan explained that the passage of the PIB will boost activities in the oil and gas sector; as the passage of Electoral Reforms Bill before the second quarter of 2021 will consolidate the electoral gains so far made.
“Also on our priority list in 2021 is the amendment to the 1999 Constitution, which is the ground norm of our being together as a nation. We have it on our agenda to pull through the process of constitutional amendment in 2021. The process which started in 2020 requires extensive consultations and the buy in of everybody.”
The Red Chamber also hopes to give accelerated consideration to measures proposed towards the containment of the COVID-19.
To this end, it is waiting for a supplementary appropriation from the Executive for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine.
“The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown of the economy that it enforced adversely affected every country in the world as it did our own economic projections and preparations.
“One of the worst results for Nigeria was the slide again into recession, just a few years after we had recovered from one.
“Despite this situation, we can thank God that the impact of the global health emergency and economic recession on Nigeria is not as catastrophic as was predicted by experts.
“I believe that this was not out of luck but because we did not delay in appropriately fine tuning and adjusting our plans in the light of the developments.”
He assured of the readiness of the Senate to ensure that Nigeria survives the second wave of the disease.
“The resurgence of the pandemic will not also inflict on us the disaster being witnessed in other parts of the world if we, as a government and as a people, do not let down our guard and take useful lessons from what is happening elsewhere.
“We, therefore, need to prepare better than before for the New Year 2021 and the years ahead. We have to ensure for our people better governance processes and dividends of democracy despite the prevailing circumstances,” he said.
According to him, “the ninth National Assembly has remained firm on its policy of passing the national budget in December preceding the fiscal year and we have done so for 2021.
” We have also passed a series of enactments proposed by the Executive as Finance Bills to support smooth implementation of the 2021 budget.
“We are determined to see Nigeria exit, as quickly as possible in the new year, from the current recession.
“In our pursuit of this objective, we have granted the request by the Executive for permission to utilise the unspent capital votes of 2020 up to March, 2021.
“We believe that allowing the implementation of this outstanding capital component of the 2020 budget to run concurrently with the 2021 budget will inject more funds to the economy.”
On the issue of security, Lawan revealed that the Senate will continue to collaborate with the Executive for a lasting solution that will make that country a safer place to live in.
He disclosed that the Chamber had transferred critical legislations which did not see the light of day due to the Corona-Virus disease to the priority list of the Legislative Agenda of the National Assembly for 2021.
“Our hope to do all these and accomplish much more in the new year lies in the unity of purpose of the ninth National Assembly.
“The Assembly has been approaching issues in a bipartisan and patriotic manner right from the onset of the current dispensation.
“This is further reinforced by the sustained harmony and tremendous understanding between the Legislature and the Executive which we earnestly believe will continue in the new year and beyond.
“By now, the benefits of harmonious relations between these two arms of government should be clear to all,” Lawan said.
The Senate President assured that the National Assembly will continue to put in her best for good governance and for the betterment of Nigerians.