The 8th Senate marked its second year anniversary on Friday, June 9, 2017 under the leadership of Bukola Saraki, as its president;
In the last two years, the senate passed 95 bills and resolved 72 petitions. When compared with the 5th Senate midterm performance, the 8th senate has 35 more bills, 72 more than 6thSenate and 67 more than the 7th senate. Both 6th and 7th senate cleared six petitions each as against 72 cleared by the current senate while there is no record of petition cleared for the 5thsenate
Below are some of the bills passed by the senate
KEY BILLS PASSED BY THE SENATE
1 Customs Service Management Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) (Passed June 2017)
This Bill provides:
• Penalties for violation of customs and excise laws: The proposed Bill significantly increases penalties for violations. It is argued that stiff penalties for infractions would help enforce compliance by traders.
• Alignment with global best practice: The proposed Bill adopts global best practices on trade facilitation, trader reviews and dispute resolution.helo customs block leakages and generate revenue for the government and it can open and create more employment.
• Reform: It seeks to reform the administration and management of Nigeria’s current customs and excise regime. The Bill also establishes the Nigerian Customs Service and repeals the Customs and Excise Management Act of 1979 and other related legislation.
• Transparency & Accountability: In the past, excise duties were fixed without reference to the National Assembly. Now, all such changes will be backed by law, because a legislative framework that entrenches transparency and efficiency in our customs operations will be established.
2 Ports & Harbours Reforms Bill (Passed April 2017)
• The protection of the rights and interests of port service providers and commercial port users within Nigeria
• Makes the ports more professional, creating more access to ease with which doing business, employment
• Facilitating the sustainable growth of trade through Nigeria’s ports.
• In collaboration with other agencies, ensuring that Nigeria’s ports are effectively integrated with other systems of infrastructure within and outside the ports
3 Secured Transactions in Moveable Assets (Passed May 2017)
• It creates a new ‘specie’ of capital that can now be used in our financial system
• Everyday Nigerians can now use invoices and receipts for loans and for creating working capital
• The market woman can go to the registry and convert her receipts into loans or capital
• Formalisation of transactions become more important
• More accessibility to loans that will encourage the informal sector to come into the formal sector– because more people will now be engaged in start ups
4 Credit Bureau Services Bill (Passed May 2017)
• This Bill will help to reduce the risk of lending or engaging in business with individuals or companies with a financial history of ;not paying back.
• A credit reporting scheme reduces the risk of lending for everybody and reduces the potential for all the non performing loans.
• It is a fundamental behaviour changing bill. For employers it cuts down the risk of employing people with questionable financial histories, while for banks and people that lend others money, it helps to show the pay-back record of the ‘borrower’
• The implication in changing our corporate behaviour are profound.
5 Petroleum Industry Governance Bill SB237 (Passed May 2017)
· The Bill aims to introduce new operational and fiscal terms for the management of the revenue that is accrued from the sector.
· The Bill will allow the Nigerian government to retain a higher proportion of the revenue that is derived from oil industry operations.
· The Bill will to revise, update and consolidate existing petroleum legislation in Nigeria;
· The Bill will create a conducive business environment for petroleum operations and other SMEs.
· The Bill will enhance the exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources for the benefit of Nigerians;
· The Bill will provide for the inclusion of more local content in the petroleum industry.
· The Bill will also optimize domestic gas supplies particularly for power generation and industrial development. I.e. cheaper cost of petroleum products.
· The Bill establishes a progressive fiscal framework that encourages further investment in the petroleum industry while optimizing
· The Bill will unbundle and restructure the NNPC
as well as remove the constraints of government funding and barriers to the entry of new players under a new set of rules that is clear and transparent to all parties
· The Bill will deregulate and liberalize the downstream petroleum sector; creating efficient and effective regulatory agencies
· The Bill will promote openness and transparency in the industry; and encourage the development of Nigerian content.
· The Bill will make Nigeria’s oil industry one of the most transparent and accountable in the world – if properly enforced.
6 Public Procurement Amendment Act: (The Made in Nigeria Amendment) (Passed June 2016)
• Makes provision for local content.
• Make MDAs give first refusal to indigenous firms and businesses in their procurement process.
• Makes MDAs to involve local entrepreneurs, any good or service that is ‘Made in Nigeria’ must be given first priority
7 Nigerian Railway Corporation Act, 1955 N129 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2015
• Brings the private sector in the running of the railways and in terms of concessioning private companies can now own trams etc.
• With the participation of the private sector in the railway system, the cost of traveling from one part of the country to another decreases because of competition in the system.
• Now, more Nigerian business owners will be able to move more goods and services across the country easily.
8. Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill (Passed May 2017)
• This an Executive Bill.
• It establishes formalized relations between Nigeria and foreign countries when it comes to criminal cases eg. looted funds.
• It aids the anti-corruption fight, so we easily get repatriated funds.
• This Bill will also go a long way in bringing confidence to foreign investors in Nigeria, because they will know that there are international formalized channels of getting their funds back if they are ever stolen. More investor confidence translates into more investment in the country, and more jobs.
9. Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill (July 2016)
• Nigeria has over 20 million people living with disabilities
• This Bill ensures that people living with disabilities are protected from discrimination of all forms (workplace; infrastructure access; healthcare; education etc.)
• Establishes a clause that there must be 5% of people living with disabilities employed in government public organizations.
10. Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Bill (Passed October 2016)
Over recent years, sexual harassment in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions has reached epidemic proportions with female students routinely failed for declining favours from male lecturers.
• Provides for a five-year jail term for a lecturer convicted for sexually harassing male or female students.
• Makes provisions for lecturers and educators who may be falsely accused by their students to initiate processes by which students could be punished for false accusation.
• This law abolishes the consent defence claim by sexual assault and rape suspects, as currently contained in Nigeria’s criminal and penal codes. This means that any educator shall be guilty of committing an offence of sexual harassment against a student, if he or she has sexual intercourse with a student who is less than 18 years of age, an imbecile or of generally low mental capacity or blind or deaf or otherwise physically challenged.
• This law also categorises it as an offence when lecturers or teachers have sexual intercourse with a student or demands for sex from a student or a prospective student as a condition to giving a grade or the granting of honours and scholarships, or the payment of stipend, allowance or other benefits, privileges or considerations.
• The Bill also stipulates that ‘Educators’ will be guilty of committing an offence of sexual harassment against a student if he or she solicits sex from or makes sexual advances towards a student when the sexual solicitation or sexual advances result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the student
11. North East Development Commission Bill (Establishment, etc.) Act Bill 2016
• This Bill establishes a commission that is tasked with the responsibility of rebuilding and rehabilitating the North East.
• The Commission will be partly funded by 3 per cent of VAT (Value Added Taxes) that accrue to the FG over a period of 10 years
• The Bill provides that the commission should be located in Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital
• The Bill is aimed at rebuilding the North East, so that Nigeria’s over 2 million IDPS can be resettled back in their homes