At its sitting on Thursday, July 13, 2017 the House of Representatives passed for third reading ‘A Bill for an Act to establish the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) to provide an objective, timely and non-partisan analysis of economic and other related matters. Having gone through the various stages of legislation, including a Public Hearing on the proposed Act, the Bill finally got a unanimous nod of the chamber when the question was put from the chair and the Clerk was invited to read the long title.
In a related development, the House also passed for second reading another Bill which sought to amend certain sections of the ‘Money laundry Prohibition Act, standing in the name of Hon. Edward Pwajok (SAN). The Bill was before now consolidated with an Executive Bill on same subject matter. In his lead debate on the general principles of the Bill, the lawmaker said there were certain sections of the existing Act that were inconsistent with other laws of the land, and needs to be deleted.
He cited that a section of the Act for instance stipulated that transactions in any particular day are not to exceed a threshold of Five hundred thousand Naira (500,000). Another section stipulated severe punishment for anybody who violates the provisions of the Act, including minors. These, Hon. Pwajok argued are against natural forces.
Other Members of the House lent their voices to speak in favour of the Bill. Those who contributed to the debate including Hon. Leo Ogor, Toby Okechuckwu, Nnenna Ukeje all affirmed that the Bill would further arm the Federal Government to win the war against corruption; adding that fighting corruption is systematic and requires a law to guide respective agencies in the process. “Fighting corruption is different from hunting down corrupt people. Whatever is being done, should be done within the ambit of rule of law’, they stated.
The Bill was thereafter read the second time and referred to the Committee on Financial Crimes for further legislative input.
However, a Member from Anambra State, Hon. Obinna Chidoka has decried the exclusion of his State in the recent directive by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo following a decision of the mid week’s Federal Executive Council, for the immediate release of the total sum of N1.6 Billion to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for onward distribution to the States affected by the recent flood disaster.
He prayed the House to urge the Executive arm of Government to ensure that Anambra is included in the beneficiaries list. He informed that most part of the State were also ravaged by the flooding incident and wondered why despite the lamentation by his constituents, the State was not captured in the fund relieve plan. “I call pray the House to call on NEMA to extend the fund release to Anambra State”, he appealed.