The Senate on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 passed into law three legislation, among which were the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) and two Conference Committee Report on the National Assembly Budget and Research Office Establishment Bill as well as the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria Establishment Bill.
The passage of the 2017 – 2019 MTEF Bill was sequel to the presentation of the Report of the Senate Joint Committees on Finance, Appropriation and National Planning led by Sen. John Enoh, Sen. Danjuma Goje and Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso before the Chamber.
The MTEF Oil Production benchmark is projected at 2.2 million barrels per day, Crude Oil Price of $42.5 per barrel and Exchange Rate Benchmark of N305 to $1. The passage of the MTEF will pave way for the consideration of 2017 Appropriation Bill.
Similarly, two Conference Committee Reports were approved by the Red Chamber which ultimately means the two legislation have been passed into law by both Chambers of the Apex Parliament. The Bills include:
• National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) Establishment, etc. Bill, 2017 (S.B. 222), Sen. Emmanuel Paulker (Bayelsa Central).
The passage of the Bill was sequel to the presentation of its Report by the Senate Conference Committee on the Bill led by Sen. Paulker. Thereafter the recommendation of the Committee were approved, thereby passing the Bill into law.
• Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria Establishment, etc. Bill, 2017 (S.B.17), sponsored by Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central).
Accordingly, the Conference Committee Report on the Bill was considered and the recommendations approved by the Chamber which ultimately means the legislation has been passed into law.
Also, the Upper legislative Chamber has deliberated upon and passed a Motion titled “The State of the Humanitarian Relief Effort in the North-East amidst high level funding so far”. It was sponsored by Sen. Muhammmed Aliu Ndume (Borno South). The law-maker observed the growing severity in humanitarian crisis in the North-East in relation to the over 73 per cent increase in donor funding for humanitarian response in the region.
Consequently, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported that over $46 million has been received as at December, 2016 which is equivalent to about N130 billion. The Motion sailed through with three resolutions below:
i) Senate expressed gratitude to the Donor Agencies for their efforts in the North-East.
ii) Senate to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to ensure proper utilization of funds from Donor Agencies.
iii) Senate to also set up a Coordinating Committee to supervise the activities of stakeholders.
Nevertheless, the Senate has debated and passed for second reading “A Bill for an Act to provide for a Legal Framework for Cassava Inclusion Policy of the Federal Government to encourage Cassava Farming and for other connected matters, 2017 (S.B.152)”, sponsored by Sen. Rose Okoh (Cross River North). The Bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture to report back in four weeks.
Meanwhile, the Red Chamber has received a letter from Mr. President forwarding the name of Prince Erediauwa for screening and confirmation for appointment as the Executive Director Nigerian Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC). The letter was read on the floor of the Chamber by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the session.
However, the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan came under point of order 43 to draw the attention of the Senate on the accidental bombing of an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in Rann Village, Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno State by the Nigerian Airforce fighter jet. The Camp was mistaken for Boko Haram Fighters regrouping in the area to launch attack.
Accordingly, the Senate observed a minute silence in honor of the deceased.