President Muhammadu BUhari will today (Tuesday) present the 2020 budget proposal before the National assembly. The event is expected to commence by 2pm.
Security has beefed up to ensure maximum protection while journalists to cover the proceedings have also been accredited.
Buhari seeks Senate’s approval of N10.06bn refund for Kogi
Senate explains amendment to Production Sharing Contract law
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has explained the reason behind the current move by the upper legislative chamber to amend the law on Production Sharing Contract in the oil industry.
Lawan said “it has become absolutely necessary for us to do so as a country so that we can generate more revenues from our endowments.”
He spoke while declaring open a public hearing on the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract, 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2019 which is being sponsored by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan.
The public hearing was convened jointly by the Senate committees on Petroleum (Upstream), Gas, Finance and Judiciary.
The Senate President said that the Senate will, in the process of carrying out the amendment, be mindful of the need to maintain a competitive environment for businesses to continue to thrive.
The Senate, he said, will also ensure that the Oil and Gas business in Nigeria remain profitable.
The bill seeks to amend section 5 of the PSC Act to bring the provisions of that section into conformity with the generality of provisions of the Act and into congruence with the intent and essence of Production Sharing Contracts.
“We want to attract more investments and therefore it is absolutely necessary that we engage in a process that we produce a win-win situation” for Nigeria and the business concerns in the oil and gas industry.
“Let me assure everyone here that the national assembly is determined to pass this bill and of course that will be a precursor to our determination to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill next year,” Lawan said.
The Petroleum Industry Bill was first introduced in 2007 and the bill is yet to be passed in its entirety.
Lawan said the National Assembly will this time around adopt a different approach to make the passage of the PIB a reality.
“We want to see a situation where the Legislature and the Executive work very closely to have a PIB that will attract investment into the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
“An investment climate that will be competitive; we know we have other countries who have this product, and therefore we have to be competitive, we have to have an environment where the businesses make profit.
“This is a journey that involves everyone. We want both government – and that includes the legislature and executive on one hand and IOCs (International Oil Companies) to work together to ensure that this environment we are trying to create is an environment that will work for all of us,” Lawan said.
Senate partners FRC to block revenue leakages
Chairman of Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), has expressed the readiness of the upper legislative chamber to work with the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC to block revenue leakages and misuse of funds by federal government agencies.
Senator Adeola, however, lamented at a meeting with FRC’s Acting Chairman, Mr. Victor Muruko, that the commission had not lived up to its billings over the years, a situation he said must change.
The lawmaker, in a statement in Abuja by his media aide, Chief Kayode Odunaro, said representatives of the FRC would henceforth attend the committee’s interactive sessions with revenue generating agencies in a bid to ensure that government gets its target, prevent leakages and frivolous spending.
He said: “Your commission has a watchdog role over revenue accruing to the Federal Government.
“With the country facing financial challenges to fund urgent infrastructure and social development, the issue of government revenue leakages and frivolous expenditures by some agencies need to be curtailed and the FRC must play a critical role in ensuring this.
“That is what the Act establishing the commission envisaged and our committee will be working with the commission during oversights on revenue generating agencies.”
Senator Adeola also regretted that the board of the commission had not been constituted since 2013, saying this militates against effective performance of its roles.
“The committee will inquire from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, why the commission under the Presidency still operates from rented apartments, lacks fund for its operation, including printing of its annual reports, years after it was established,” he added.
In his remarks, Muruko told the senators that the commission was hamstrung by lack of funds for its operations that required seeking information from revenue generating agencies on revenues targets, achievements and expenditure to ensure they conform to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
“We have many challenges in our operations. When we write to agencies for information they are very reluctant in giving us information and delay such for months or don’t give us at all because there are no sanctions.
“There is need to amend the Act to provide stiff sanctions against agencies flouting the Act as well as compel them to provide stipulated information,” the FRC boss said.
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