Proceedings of the Nigerian Senate of Thursday, 28th May, 2020

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Welcome to a new Legislative Day in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON led the Principal Officers into the chambers; took the official prayers; and began the day’s proceedings.

EXECUTIVE SESSION
Senate moved into an Executive Session and resumed from its Executive Session.

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Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON reported that at the Executive Session the Senate deliberated on the issues bordering on workings of the Nigerian Senate in particular and the National Assembly in general.

Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe moved for the approval of votes and proceedings of Tuesday, 19th May 2020. Senator‬ Mpigi Barinada‪ seconded.‬

EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATION
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON read a letter from Mr. President on the Submission of revised 2020-2022 MTEF and revised 2020 appropriations Bill to the Senate for approval.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON read a letter from Mr. President on his request for external borrowing to finance:

  1. The revised 2020 budget
  2. Priority projects of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
  3. Projects to support the State Government.

Senate leader moved a motion for the revised medium term Expenditure Framework and the borrowing request of Mr. President be referred to the relevant Committee to report back in one week. Minority leader seconded

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the Executive Communication to the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Foreign and Local Debt to report back on Tuesday.

“Finance Committee to look into the communication on the MTEF while the Committee on Foreign and Local Debt will look into the communication on loan request.”- Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON.

Senate leader moved a motion for the suspension of Rule 70/9 sub section 1 to allow for the reading of the revised 2020 budget for the second time. Minority Leader seconded.

Senate leader read the details of the revised budget.

Senator Sabi Abdulllahi rose to support the revised Bill, said the changes are necessary because we are experiencing a difficult time. He said the efforts put into it is modest and requires the support of all. He emphasized the aspect of food security which he says is critical if we must get the economy back on track.

Senator Adamu Aliero said the revised budget is a realistic amendment in line with the Covid19 pandemic. He said the budget reflects the realities that we are facing and added that we need to reflate the economy, thus asking for more stimulus packages from govt that will cut across all sectors of the economy.

Senator Emmanuel Bwacha lamented the “insufficient” reduction in the revised budget which he said is just by N200bn. saying that he was expecting it to be around 30% reduction and asked the Senate to further reduce from the revised budget.

Senator Uche Ekwunife said it is important to know the short, medium and long term plan out of the impact of the Covid19 pandemic, stating that it has given us an opportunity to look inward. She said the executive must be urged to implement the budget so that the economy would be woken up.

Senator Gabriel Suswam observed that in the current amendment;

  1. Naira has been devalued by 18%, the implication of which he said are series of problems it will create down the road.
  2. The deficit of over N5.8trn is very worrisome especially as the collection cost of VAT and Company Income Tax are N80bn and N76bn respectively.
  3. He also spoke about the provision of 200bn as fees for stamp duty is grossly inadequate since most transactions are now going to be done online. He said this needs to be increased.
  4. The N350bn and N260bn projected to be made from marginal oil field and privitazarion are not realistic as the process of both have not commenced.
  5. He said the debt to GDP of close to 70 is too high and makes it impossible to implement the budget and this means the economy is not going to grow.
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Senator Gabriel Suswam said we must look into passing the PIB so that we can make more money especially in preparation for 2021. Highlight of Revised 2020 budget as submitted to Senate by President Buhari.

Size of budget: N10, 509,654,033.054, Statutory Transfers: N398, 505,979,362, Debt Service: N2,951,710,000,000, Recurrent Expenditure: N4, 928,525,467,849, Capital Expenditure: N2, 230,912,585.842.

Senator James Manager said he doubts if anyone would oppose the amendment of the 2020 budget. He however said that the submission of Senator Suswam is very germaine and must be looked into.

Senator Gershom Bassey spoke on the news for a quick stimulus package as earlier convassed by Senator Aliero. He also spoke on the issue of excess crude account which he said must be examined, while he called for support for the budget.

Senator Smart Adeyemi suggested that we look into developing our agriculture especially the cash crop that will give us foreign exchange. He also spoke on the iron and steel sector which he said will also rake in revenue for Nigeria.

Senator Smart Adeyemi advocated for the introduction of toll gates especially for those who drive in exotic cars as a way of raising revenue for the country. He also asked for the introduction of property tax especially on those who live in mansions.

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele joined to express support for the revised budget and says he is impressed with the adjustment which didn’t affect the health sector because of the Covid19 pandemic. He also praised the attention given to the agriculture sector.

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele lamented the budgetary allocation to the judiciary which he says is less 1 percent of the budget. He is asking that the initial allocation to the judiciary should be maintained because the Covid19 pandemic has also increased the demand of the justice sector.

Senator Francis Fadahunsi was worried about the inflation that would result from the exchange rate which is now out at 385, especially as we are going to be doing many importation.

A Bill for an Act to amend the Appropriations Act 2020 for the implementation of N10, 509,654,033.054 of which Statutory Transfers: N398, 505,979,362, Debt Service: N2,951,710,000,000, Recurrent Expenditure: N4, 928,525,467,849 and Capital Expenditure: N2, 230,912,585.842 was read the Second Time.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the Bill to the Committee on Appropriations to report back on Tuesday.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON asked the Committees on Finance, Appropriations and Foreign and Local Debt to work throughout the weekend to ensure that the reports are presented on Tuesday.

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PETITION
Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi raised a petition on behalf of Coalition of Imo youth groups on the influx of 196 almajiris to the state who were intercepted by the IMO Covid19 Committee and subjected to test but released before the test results came out. 26 of the youths later tested positive. The groups are seeking probe into their influx into the state in violation of lockdown order as well as their release.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the petition to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

POINT OF ORDER
Senator Uche Ekwunife cited Order 43 and notified the Senate on yesterday’s children’s day and its importance. She asked the Senate to give a one minute standing ovation on honoring of Nigerian children.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON on behalf of the Senate and the National Assembly congratulated the children and said we have the highest number of out of school children and this has to be reversed.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON said we have to give the children good education and proper upbringing. The National Assembly will work with the executive and the state government to address the issues facing children because they are time bomb waiting to explode.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON asked the relevant Committee of the Senate to liaise with the Ministry of Education and other government agencies to see the state of preparedness of the schools towards resumption like the use of face mask in this period of Covid 19.

Senator Ibrahim Gobir cited Order 43, explained the situation in his local government where 74 people were killed in different villages and some others kidnapped.

Senate resolved to:
Observe a minute silence in honour of those who lost their lives to banditary and other forms of criminality in the country.

PRESENTATION OF BILLS- First Reading

  1. Nigerian Railway Corporation Act CAP N129 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment ) Bill, 2020 (SB. 426) by Senator Buhari Abdulfatai.

Nigerian Railway Corporation Act CAP N129 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment ) Bill, 2020 (SB. 426) was read the First Time.

  1. National Transport Commission (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 427) by Senator Buhari Abdulfatai.

National Transport Commission (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 427) was read the First Time.

  1. Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 428) by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.

Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 428) was read the First Time.

  1. 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (SB. 429) by Senator Adetunmbi Olubunmi.

1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (SB. 429) was read the First Time.

  1. Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency Act CAP P43 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 430) by Senator Gershom Bassey.

Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency Act CAP P43 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 430) was read the First Time.

PRESENTATION OF A REPORT
Report of the Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs on the Confirmation of the Nominations of the following persons for Appointment as Chairman and Members of the Federal Character Commission by Senator La’ah, Danjuma Tella.

  1. Dr. Muheeba (Farida) Dankaka – Chairman – Kwara State – New Appointment
  2. Hon. Henry Ogbulogo – Member – Abia State – New Appointment
  3. Dr. Salihu Bello – Member – Adamawa State – New Appointment
  4. Obonganwan Dorah Daniel Ebong – Member – Akwa Ibom State – New Appointment
  5. Rev. Ibeabuchi Uche – Member – Anambra State – New Appointment
  6. Mohammad Tijani – Member – Bauchi State – New Appointment
  7. Tonye G. Okio – Member – Bayelsa State – New Appointment
  8. Mr. Silas Mfa Macikpah – Member – Benue State – New Appointment
  9. Abba Ali Monguno – Member – Borno State – New Appointment
  10. Mr. Nsor Atamgbe – Member – Cross River – New Appointment
  11. Hon. Moses Anaughe – Member – Delta State – New Appointment
  12. Chief George Afamefuna Ossi – Member – Ebonyi State – New Appointment
  13. Imuetinyan Festus – Member – Edo State – New Appointment
  14. Barr. Sesan Fatoba – Member – Ekiti State – New Appointment
  15. Mrs. Ginioka Florence Tor – Member – Enugu State – New Appointment
  16. Hamza Mohammed – Member – Gombe State – New Appointment
  17. Dr. Diogu Uche – Member – Imo State – New Appointment
  18. Lawan Ya’u Roni – Member- Jigawa State – New Appointment
  19. Hadiza Usman Muazu – Member – Kaduna State – New Appointment
  20. Muhammad Awwal Na’iya – Member – Kano State – New Appointment
  21. Hon. Lawal Garba – Member - Katsina State – New Appointment
  22. Abubakar Atiku Bunu – Member – Kebbi State – New Appointment
  23. Pharm. Idris Eneyo Bello – Member – Kogi State – New Appointment
  24. Daniel James Kolo – Member – Kwara State – New Appointment
  25. Abdul Wasiu Kayode Bawa-Allah – Member – Lagos State – New Appointment
  26. Barr. Ajakayi Toro Mamman – Member – Nasarawa State – New Appointment
  27. Maj. Gen. Suleiman Barau Said (Rtd) – Member – Niger State – New Appointment
  28. Abiodun Ishaq Akinlade – Member – Ogun State – New Appointment
  29. Chief Olufemi Lawrence Omosanya – Member – Ondo State – New Appointment
  30. Adeoye, Abdulrazaq Olalekan – Member – Osun State – New Appointment
  31. Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela – Member – Oyo State – New Appointment
  32. Mr. Stephen A. Jings – Member – Plateau State – New Appointment
  33. Wokocha Augustine – Member – Rivers State – New Appointment
  34. Abdullahi Aminu Tafida – Member Sokoto State – New Appointment
  35. Alhaji Armaya’u Dauda Abubakar – Member Taraba State – New Appointment
  36. Hon. Jibril Maigari – Member Yobe State – New Appointment
  37. Hon. Sani Garba - Member - Zamfara State - New Appointment.
  38. Sen. Adamu Muhammed Sidi-Alli – Member – FCT – New Appointment.
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Senator Bassey Akpan seconded that the Senate do receive the report of the Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs on the Confirmation of the Nominations of the above persons for Appointment as Chairman and Members of the Federal Character Commission.

The Report was LAID.

ADJOURNMENT
Senate Leader moved that all items on the order paper be stood down to another legislative day. Minority Leader seconded.

Plenary is adjourned to Tuesday, 2nd June 2020.

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