President Buhari to present 2017 budget

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari will present the 2017 appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly next week Wednesday December 14, 2016.

In a letter addressed to the Senate President and read on the floor of the red chamber, President Buhari sought the audience of the lawmakers to enable him lay the appropriation bill of 2017 and the recession exit plans of the Government.

The two paragraph letter with the title, “2017 budget proposal and plans to lead Nigeria out of recession,” was read by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

The letter reads, “I crave the kind indulgence of the National Assembly to grant me the slot of 10:00 hours on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 to formally address a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2017 budget proposal and our plans to get the country out of recession.                      

“Please extend Mr. Senate President, the assurances of my highest regards to the distinguished senators, as I look forward to addressing the joint session.”

Petroleum Industry Governance Bill
Meanwhile, the Senate will on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016, begin the public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIB), which passed second reading on Tuesday, November 1st, 2016.

The PIB governance legislation, which has been stalled in successive assemblies, has reached its farthest stage in 16 years, after it was split into three different bills.

The Bill establishes the process for breaking the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into two commercial entities which will be limited by shares.

The two entities will be known as the National Petroleum Company and the National Assets Management Company.

Once the PIB is passed and signed into law, Nigeria will have the necessary legislative framework that is needed to ensure the creation and sustainability of commercially-oriented and profit-driven entities that makes possible value addition and the internationalisation of Nigeria’s petroleum industry.

Speaking on the upcoming public hearing on the PIB, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki commended his colleagues for keeping their foot on the gas in their quest to pass legislation that would grow Nigeria’s economy and create jobs.

“I must say, I am proud to be associated with an institution like the 8th Senate that has backed its words with its actions,” Saraki said.

“When we passed them Senate’s Economic Legislative Agenda a few months ago, we said that we would make the elusive PIB one of our priorities. By bringing it to the public hearing stage, we have done this.

“Though we have come this far, we cannot afford to take our foot off the gas. We must ensure that we expedite the work of the Committee after this public hearing, in order to make sure that the PIB is signed, sealed and delivered for the benefit of the Nigerian public early in 2017,” he said.

The PIB public hearing will hold on Wednesday and Thursday in the Senate New Wing of the National Assembly Complex. The hearings will be conducted by the Committee on Upstream Petroleum, which is chaired by Senator Donald Omotayo Alasoadura.

More so, the Senate is set to introduce a Host Community legislation to complement the Governance and Institutional Framework Bill in the coming weeks.

This Bill is aimed at addressing issues relating to community participation, security and the ecological debt incurred by host communities from oil extraction.