National Assembly set to amend the Procurement Act

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate says it is set to support local production of goods by encouraging the federal government to initiate policies for the sustenance of local industries and entrepreneurship initiatives.

To this end, the Senate in conjunction with the House of Representatives has resolved to amend the procurement Act to ensure that as a matter of law, agencies of government and government funded institutions adopt the Made-In-Nigeria’ goods as first option in their procurement exercise.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who sponsored the motion entitled; The Need to Patronize Made in Nigeria products, reiterated the strong stance of the Senate on the need to promote locally manufactured products. Senator Abaribe reminded his colleagues that back in the 60s Nigeria was ahead of her contemporaries in production and socio-economic empowerment of its citizens.

“Today, Nigeria consumes what it does not produce. Investment in real sector has given way to trading in foreign and imported goods. The resultant impact has been a negative balance of trade, the shutting down of textiles companies, battery, tobacco, wood processing factories, cocoa and palm oil farms and other factories that had been the bane of the Nigerian economy.

Industries were located in rural areas and made in Nigeria products were popular with Nigerians and many other African countries… the level of industries shutting down was less than 10 percent and Nigeria produced what they consume … lack of patronage and very harsh business environment has forced over 80 percent to close shop,” he said.

Abaribe noted that the current depletion in forex earnings and available forex is a symptomatic effect of an import dependent economy, which is riddled with unemployment, negative balance of trade, low capital formation, low private sector development.

“Sensitising Nigerians to consume made in Nigeria products, without more, isn’t quite enough: the government needs to put policies in place to aid and encourage local producers,” he added.

On his part, Senator Ben Murray Bruce urged all his colleague in the red chamber to emulate the leadership of the Senate who has acquired made in Nigeria vehicles.

In his contribution Senator Ibrahim Gobiri decried regular policy summersault which he said is the reason for reliance on importation of all sorts of products into the country.

There was however a mild drama as Kogi state lawmaker, Dino Melaye drew the attention of the senate to the fact that while some Nigerians were striving to buy made in Nigeria products, some political office holders were marrying wives outside the country.

Rounding off the debate, Senate president Bukola Saraki assured Nigerians that the 8th National Assembly will fast track legislation to encourage production and consumption of Made in Nigerian products. The Senate President also conducted the swearing in of Senator David Mark who recently received his certificate of return as the Senator representing Benue south senatorial district in north central Nigeria.

 

2016 Appropriation Bill  

Meanwhile, the legislative joint committee on appropriations has concluded its collation of reports from the various sub-committees on the 2016 appropriation bill. Addressing Journalists on behalf of the joint committee, Senator Danjuma Goje said the 2016 appropriation bill would be laid on the floor of both chambers on the 16th of this month for possible passage a day after the submission.

The various sub committees of the two chambers have interacted with their various respective MDAs, the committees have produced their reports and all the Committees of the two chambers have fully submitted their reports. We have been working very hard round the clock at the same time at the weekends, and we will continue to do that until we finish the compilation of our reports.”

On his part, Mr. Jibrin Abdulmumuni who serves as the Chairman of the appropriation committee in the House of Representatives said that efforts put into the reports from the various sub committees are to ensure that it aligns to the National Assembly guidelines.

“After all consultation with the leadership of the House and Senate, we can confirm to you that all things being equal we should be able to lay our report of the 2016 Appropriation Bill before the House and the Senate on the16th of March and the consideration, hopefully should be done on the 17th. So, it is safe for us to conclude that the 2016 Appropriation bill will be passed on the 17th of March 2016.

“We are going to open, in the next few days, consultation with the relevant stakeholders in this process, most especially the executive arm of government. Particularly in the case of the House, we are going to engage the Minister of Budget and Planning, Minister of Finance, DG Budget Office.

Most importantly, we are working hand-in-hand with the Senate, and things are looking (good). We are putting in our best on a daily basis,Jibrin added.

Nnenna.O