The Senate recently celebrated their one year in office since its inauguration on June 9 2015. During the special session which held on Thursday, June 9, the Senate president, Bukola Saraki listed several achievements made by the eighth Senate.
These bills include the 299 bills that were presented, 34 bills that passed first reading, 182 passed second reading, four executive bills, six house bills which are awaiting concurrence and one negated bill – the social media bill.
However, three bills were withdrawn while 41 are at the committee stage.
The bills passed are Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act CAP B2 LFN 2011 (Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, 2015), National Centre for Cancer and Treatment Bill 2015, Electronic Transaction Bill, 2015, 2015 Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill 2015, Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2015 and High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja (Amendment) Bill 2015.
Others include the Federal Capital Territory Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill 2016, 2016 Appropriation Bill 2015, Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme Bill 2016, Environmental Health Officers (Registration etc) Act 2002 (Amendment) Bill and Nigeria Institute of Soil Science Bill, 2016.
Briefing journalists at the National Assembly press center on Thursday, June 9, Senator Babajide Omoworare, the Senate committee chairman on Rules and Business said the total number of bills brought before the Senate was 300.
Also, the Senate president in his disclosure said eight assembly’s legislative intervention yielded about 15 major economic reform bills and seven business environment bills.
“Some of these bills have since entered the dockets of the Senate and are at various stages of consideration as some also have been passed by the Senate. Chief among those passed include, the Electronic Transaction bill 2015; Debt Recovery and Insolvency bill 2015 and; the Railway Bill which is being considered through the final lap. All these bills represent a watershed in economic and business legislations in our country,” Saraki said.
For example, Saraki said the Electronic Transaction Bill 2015 will be the first legal framework ever in Nigeria that will provide the legal foundation for electronic signatures and guarantees predictability in contracts made electronically.
“Once signed into law, this bill will offer full protections to contracts entered into via emails, and transactions conducted with online shops, electronic commerce and services platforms, which are currently not provided for in our laws,” he said.
Saraki said: “Another obvious benefit of this bill is will reduce the cost of doing business by eliminating transportation and other logistics cost.”
He said the new legal framework when signed into law will embolden the innovative creativity and open up new areas of investment opportunity for Nigerian youth.
He also said that fresh investors who have previously suffered lack of support from creditors and investors due to the absence of this law will benefit from this new bill.
“Another important bill that has emerged from our Ease of Doing Business intervention is the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Repeal and Amendment Bill 2015. These are the super structure on which a 21st century Nigerian economy must be built on,” he said.
Meanwhile, at the lower chambers headed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, a total of 685 bills was received.
The bulk of these bills – about 98%, 675 were members’ bills, 10 executive bills.
Out of the bills, 416 are awaiting 2nd Reading; 130 Bills have been referred to Committees and 3 bills are awaiting consideration. It is instructive to observe that 85 of these bills have been passed by the House so far.
Some of three bills include the agriculture credit scheme bill and the Chartered Institute for Soil Science bill which has just passed into law are part of a critical segment of legislative interventions.
According to Dogara, all the bills sent to the House of Representatives have passed through first reading.
“We have designed to boost the current policy on agriculture as a major plank of the diversification policy of government. In the coming months we are determined to continue to focus our legislative energy at high impact legislation across the critical sectors of our economy,” Dogara said.
He said: “The past legislative session of the House can be considered as one of very high legislative activism compared to earlier periods. During the legislative session, June 9, 2015 – June 9, 2016, a total of 685 bills was received in the House. The bulk of these bills, indeed, about 98 percent, 675 were members’ bills, ten executive bills.”
“The number of bills introduced in the last one year represents the highest annual consideration of bills by the House since the return to democratic governance in 1999. All the bills presented to the House have passed through first reading. Thanks to the dedication of all of you who realize the urgency of change and are more than prepared to sit in the Chambers from 11am to 5pm most legislative days.
“By this achievement we have demonstrated that change can only be achieved by positive actions and not by talk,”
“A major factor in the heightened bills introduction in the House relates to the implementation of one of the elements of the Legislative Agenda, namely, Review of the Laws of the Federation. Early in the session, I inaugurated a Committee comprising renowned experts, jurists, lawyers, civil society advocates and other stakeholders with the DG National Institute of Legislative Studies as Chairperson,” he said.
Dogara also noted that the committee was charged with the responsibility of reviewing the current laws of the country with a view to updating them, recommending repeal of obnoxious and outdated laws, among others.
“After exhaustive review of the country’s laws and statutes, the Committee submitted two interim reports with over 250 laws reviewed; this has resulted in the unprecedented introduction of 130 bills which scaled first reading on a single day in 2015. And only yesterday, June 8, 100 bills were introduced for first reading also,” he added.
In four years, the 7th assembly were able to pass 123 bills, introduced 591 Bills and considered 115 motions.
Victor Ndoma-Egba, leader of the seventh Senate disclosed this in a motion with 106 other senators at its valedictory session to mark the end their tenure.