NIGERIA PRESIDENT, MUHAMMADU BUHARI’s proposed bill to the National Assembly entitled “Emergency Economy Stabilisation Bill 2016” may be dead on arrival.
A report by Thisday indicates that Nigeria senators are not favourably disposed to assenting the bill because of fears that Buhari was seeking to transform himself into a tyrant and would foist a dictatorship on the nation.
Being a former military president who served as the nation’s head of state from December 1983 to August 1985 after taking power in a military coup, such moves by Buhari has always being viewed with suspicion.
Buhari’s emergency powers bill is billed to be be sent to the National Assembly by the president upon resumption from its summer vacation and after the Eid el Kabir holidays.
According to the senators, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, some of the provisions in the bill were unnecessary and it as nothing more than a subtle way of avoiding counterpart funding by the present administration.
According to them, if the bill is passed as proposed, the president will gradually transform himself into a dictator.
The fear of the legislators is that, even without the so-called emergency powers at his disposal, the president has continued to trample on the powers of the legislature.
The senators vowed to kill the bill before, as there are concerns that the president wants to use the bill to demean the legislature and turn it into a rubber stamp body.
The objectives of the bill includes:
1. Shoring up the value of the naira
2. Job creation
3. Boosting foreign exchange reserves
4. Reviving the manufacturing sector and
5. Improving power supply.
The bill is an idea of the economic team headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The economic team examined the state of the nation and concluded that there was urgent need to take some drastic decisions that the nation’s extant laws do not provide for.
The bill seeks to give the president unfettered powers to set aside some extant laws of the and and simultaneously be empowered to come up with an economic recovery initiative within the next one year.
The bill seeks to:
1. Empower the president to abridge the procurement process with a view to guaranteeing stimulus spending on critical sectors of the economy
2. Make orders to favour local contractors/suppliers in contract awards; abridge the process of sale or lease of government assets to generate revenue
3. Allow virement of budgetary allocations to projects that are urgent, without a recourse to the National Assembly and
4. Amend laws such as the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act, so that states that cannot access their cash trapped in the commission’s accounts as a result of their inability to meet the counterpart funding can do so.
Meanwhile, these are hard times for Nigeria’s federal legislature as the dwindling economy has affected the finances of the National Assembly.
According to a recent media report, contractors and suppliers are grumbling over the inability of the management of the National Assembly to liquidate their accumulated debts.
Similarly, renowned economist and businessman, Mr Atedo Peterside has warned that the recession currently experienced in Nigeria will last for a long time.
Peterside who is also the President & Founder of Anap Foundation said business confidence is low and investors are holding back on investing in Nigeria.