The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday, responded to criticisms trailing the Bill on Frivolous Petition that has passed the Second Reading at the Senate, saying any part of the bill that does not conform to human rights will be removed.
Speaking on the sidelines of Lagos Business School Dinner at which he was a guest, Saraki said: “We have only debated the principle of the bill, we have not gone into the details of the bill. So, if there is any part of the bill that does not conform to human rights, be rest assured that the Senate will do the proper thing. So there was no bill that was brought forward called social media bill.
“I think there is need for clarity on that and to let you know that those that led the protest, we have received their letters, we have told them to be rest assured that by the time it goes to committee work, and goes to public hearing, some of these things will come up.
“But you must understand that when those bills come to the floor of the Senate, they come as argument on the principle of the bill, and the principle of that bill was Frivolous Petition, nothing to do with social media but later on we did find out that there was a section in it about social media.
“That will go away when it comes to third reading, where you consider the Bill section by section.”
We talked about how easy it is to do business in Nigeria last week on The Morning Mojo. Just yesterday, we talked about how corruption was affecting small and medium scale businesses and stifling productivity. I have made numerous references to US President Franklin Roosevelts new deal for Americans .
The new deal was a series of domestic programs enacted in the United States between 1933 and 1938, and a few that came later. They included both laws passed by Congress as well as presidential executive orders during the first term (1933–37) of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were in response to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians refer to as the “3 Rs,” Relief, Recovery, and Reform: Relief for the unemployed and poor, Recovery of the economy to normal levels, and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression
Roosevelt responded with a remarkable series of new programs in the “first hundred days” of the administration, in which he met with Congress for 100 days. During those 100 days of lawmaking, Congress granted every request Roosevelt asked, and passed a few programs (such as the FDIC to insure bank accounts) that he opposed. Ever since, presidents have been judged against FDR for what they accomplished in their first 100 days.
So is there a new deal for Nigerians here?
Delivering a speech entitled “Macroeconomic outlook for 2016 and legislative perspective” at Lagos Business School breakfast club end of the year, Saraki said: “The 8th Senate is today at an advanced stage of carrying out one of the most far-reaching legislative reviews ever embarked upon by the legislature in Nigeria with the Doing Business Development Project which is aimed at eliminating obsolete business regulatory laws that have outlived their usefulness and in their place provide adequate legal, institutional and regulatory mechanisms to drive a new modern economy
“For the 8th Senate, we can no longer accept the placement of Nigeria at 169 of 189 countries on the global ranking of business competitiveness. Therefore, the task of modernizing the Nigerian economy and providing the regulatory environment for ease of doing business is for us a task that must be done in order to set the stage for meaningful economic growth.
The legislative agenda focuses on expanding our people’s opportunity to participate in the Nigerian economy by creating the necessary legal, institutional and regulatory framework for the private sector to thrive. Emphasis is laid on bills that will impact on people positively, reduce unemployment, block leakages, improve security and of course private sector participation. You will see a marked focus on important bills and more time and effort dedicated to critical issues compared to what was witnessed under the 7th assembly where the ratio of important bill tilted negatively. This will not happen in this Senate.
“Some of our priority bills include the PIB which will ensure greater transparency and efficiency in the oil and gas industry, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Repeal bill, the Road and Transport Reform bills, the Ports and Harbour Bills which are all geared towards opening these sectors to private sector investment and expanding the infrastructure base for the Nigerian economy. We have targeted also bills aimed at broadening the credit market, lowering credit risk and improving the conflict resolution structures in the system for better commercial dispute resolution.
As we speak today, we are on the verge of introducing the first part of PIB for first reading. This sets out a new governance and institutional structure for the oil and gas industry. The emphasis of the bill is to create a world class oil and gas sector, competitive, open and simple
“Within the next few weeks we will be passing the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act Amendment Bill and the Electronic Transaction Bill. These bills have significant implications and play key roles in the new economic framework we are forging.
“Similarly, the Electronic Transaction Bill will provide the legal framework setting out the regulatory scheme for protecting consumers and guaranteeing confidence in a market which experts have said has the potential of netting over $10 billion annually in the country. The outlook in 2016 is not remarkably different.”
“Realistically, government must have to borrow to meet some of these pressing needs.”
“However, in borrowing, the Senate will as a matter of course ensure that our borrowing is well articulated within a Fiscal Sustainability Framework with a long-term view “
“This is to ensure that we borrow prudently and sustainably.”
“We will assist the FIRS to explore ways of expanding our revenue stream by bringing in more people into the tax framework and also aid customs to block leakages from its operations.”
On the fuel situation…
“Unlike what we saw with the 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Bill in which we where literally blackmailed by petroleum marketers and presented with a fait accompli, this time around we are going to be deliberate, thorough and more diligent. Thankfully, the TSA is now being implemented and the gains will soon begin to be felt.”