• Outlines agenda for next 22 months
By Damilola Oyedele
The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said that the passage of the Administrative and Fiscal Policy Bills for the petroleum industry will be key issues for the Senate when it resumes after its annual recess.
In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki also outlined the priority issues for the Senate to tackle in the next 22 months.
These include focus on developing Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit through appropriate legislations, considering more bills aimed at repositioning the national economy so as to enable it address rising unemployment, and strengthening Nigeria’s democracy through legislative oversight on government establishments.
He added that other issues that would preoccupy the upper chamber of the federal legislature would include entrenchment of transparency in governance at all levels, the universal health coverage law, and strengthening the institution of the Senate by ensuring that people begin to understand the role of parliament in the governing of the nation.
“From day one, this Senate had its own legislative agenda. You will see that some of the things we have been doing are working our way through this agenda, in order to cross items off our list and deliver on our promised change.
“This has allowed us to treat more petitions than any other parliament in our nation’s history, and pass more bills at the mid-term mark,” Saraki said.
“This is why, as we return in September, we will be finalising on our infrastructure and social intervention pieces of legislation.
“These are laws that will not only make it easier for small and medium enterprises across the nation to do business. We will make laws that would create ample opportunities for all Nigerians to realise their potential,” he added.
Saraki said the host community component of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which looks at the ecological debt incurred against communities where petroleum exploration happens, and community participation and security of these communities will also be on the front burner of the Senate. “This is something Nigerians can watch out for. Similarly, the Industry Administration component of the PIB, which seeks to open up the industry to investment and growth, as well as create the much-needed expansion of the industry by allowing new entrants into the operations of the industry, is now at the committee stage at the Senate. We will work to quickly pass the bill,” Saraki said.
The Senate President promised that even though the Senate only had less than 22-months to complete its term, with several noteworthy achievements already recorded, it would not take its foot off the pedal.
“Yes, a lot has been done. However, many of the positive effects of our work might still take some time to be felt. This is why we will continue to keep pushing and keep pressing for the people that we represent.
“So that one day, they will look back and say that ‘Yes, truly, the 8th Senate really worked hard for us’.”