Chris Steven, Abuja
Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday stated that the 8th Senate would work to meet a 2016 deadline for the passage of all the 11 economic-priority Bills that it has scheduled to tackle the economic recession.
Speaking at a dialogue at the 22nd Edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, Saraki said since the beginning of the year, the Senate has worked to fast-track the over 40 priority bills recommended by the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER), an initiative in which the Nigerian Economic Summit Group is a major partner.
The Senate President also said that one of the plans that the Senate has to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in this administration, is to break the Bill into different sections for easier passage. The Senate President emphasised that with the passage of the PIB, Nigeria would generate more revenue from oil — putting it on track to come out of the economic recession.
“By focusing more out outcomes, rather than processes,” Saraki said, “The Nigerian Senate has been able to pass 20 Bills for Final Reading in two weeks.”
Speaking on the ‘Made in Nigeria’ theme of the summit, the Senate President lauded the organisers for keying into the Senate’s plan for generating more revenue from home-grown businesses.
“Earlier this year, when in the Senate we started the ‘Made in Nigeria’ campaign, we knew how important it was, but even we did not foresee how far it would go,” he said. “To promote the patronage of our domestic businesses, the Senate has gone as far as amending the procurement act to urge government ministries, departments and agencies to key into this initiative.”
“It is our hope that Nigerian businesses can begin to benefit from the over N2 trillion naira in government expenditure in the 2016 budget,” he continued, “So that we can reduce the demand on foreign exchange while simultaneously boosting our IGR.”
At a question-and-answer segment of the dialouge, Saraki also promised that the Senate would examine Nigeria’s multiple taxation laws of businesses, when it considers the 2017 Appropriation Bill — stating that it was time that Nigeria improved its revenue generating systems.
“What we need to do is to improve our corporate taxation system,” he said, “The Senate will be examining the different options for achieving this in the 2017 budget cycle so that we can strengthen the tax value chain . We will also review other areas like the customs duties.”