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N32bn Revenue Loss: Reps Summon Minister, Notify Buhari

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House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has summoned the Minister of Trade and Industry, Chief Niyi Adebayo for the umpteenth time over loss of revenue to the tune of over N32 billion by the Federal Government in the nation’s Export Free Trade Zones.

The Chairman of the Committee, Hon Busayo Oluwole Oke (PDP-Osun) handed down the order following the absence of the Minister who was expected to shed more light on the claims of Companies indicted by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (oAuGF) that the Ministry actually issued them with the alleged fake Certificates of Capital Compliance for Tax waivers.

The Multinational Companies in the Free Trade Zone were said to be parading fake Capital Compliance Certificates over the years which had cost huge loss of revenues expected to be collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Services,(FIRS).

According to him, “During the course of our investigations, the companies claimed that the Ministry issued them with Capital Compliance Certificates and in our wisdom, we decided to summon the Minister to confirm, we have extended several invitations to him but as we speak, he is yet to honour our invitation

“Parliament cannot continue to wait for him and for the Nation to continue to witness more revenue loses, that’s why we are asking the Minister to appearp before this Committee to speak on the claims of the companies,

“Consequently, the Committee is calling on the Honourable Minister to appear in person before the Committee on this matter because it appears some people are colluding with the companies to defraud the Federal Government of its legitimate revenues, thereby making the government to be unable to fulfill its Constitutional roles to the citizens.

“In addition, the Committee is reporting the Minister to his employer, President Muhammadu Buhari to be aware how some of his appointees are carrying out their assignments

“Consequently, an official letter on the matter should be forwarded to the Secretary to the Government of the Fnederation, SGF, the Chief of Staff To the President, and the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation for them to be aware of is going on

Hon Oke however said that should the Minister still refuse to appear the Committee would have no option but to issue a warrant of arrest against him to make him appear unfailingly to speak to the parlarment on the matter

He made it clear that the Committee was not out to witchunt any individual or group but to perform its constitutional duties as lawmakers

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Legislature

Senate Presidency: Yari, Tambuwal, others shut out in Senate new rule that bars first-timers

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***CSOs ask non ranking senators to move against amendments in court

Not up to two weeks after the 10th Senate suffered an impeachment scare, the Senate on Tuesday amended its standing rule and barred first term members from seeking to be elected as president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate.

Adopting a motion sponsored by senate majority leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, the senate amended section three of its standing rule and specifically stated that to vie for the position of president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate, a senator must have spent one term or four years in the upper legislative chamber.

With the new amendment to the standing orders of the Senate, first term senators are now prohibited from contesting for the position of presiding officers of the Red Chambers.

Bamidele’s motion was titled: “Amendment of the Standing Orders of the Senate pursuant to Order 109 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (As Amended).”

Rule 3 of the Senate Standing Orders as amended now stipulates that any senator wishing to contest for the position of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President must have spent a minimum of one term in the senate.

But the 1999 constitution as amended in its section 50(1) simply provided that “there shall be a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves”

The Senate also amended its rules and created additional nine Standing Committees, bringing the number of Senate committees to 83 from its previous 74.

It would be recalled that last June, the former Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, got the second highest votes of 46 against Godswill Akpabio’s 63 votes

The contest was the fiercest in the history of the election of President of the Senate.

Three weeks ago, the office of the Senate president raised an alarm about an alleged plot to remove Akpabio from the office.

The uproar generated by that alarm forced the Northern Senators Forum to condemn what they called an attempt by Akpabio to pitch Senators against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Meanwhile, criticisms have started gathering against the amendment as many believe that the discrimination introduced has no place in the constitution.

“Although the constitution gave power to the senate to regulate it, such regulations or rules .ust not be in breach of the Constitution” a lawmaker.

Reacting to the amendment, the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) said:
“The amendments are unconstitutional and ultra vires because section 42(1) of the Constitution states clearly that policies of government ought not to be made in such a way that a certain category of citizens will be disabled from participating or benefitting therefrom.”

In a statement by its president, comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said that “the idea of allowing only ranking members to be qualified to contest for offices within the Senate’s hierarchy is impracticable in Nigeria where the turn-over rate of legislators into the national assembly is not as robustly sustainable as the Americans or British experience about their parliamentarians.

“In Nigeria, virtually 40 to 45 percent of Senators don’t get reelected. Supposing those who get re-elected lack charisma and leadership qualities, will the Senate be led by never-do-wells? This law is an attempt to muzzle opposition to the decadent leadership of Sebator Akpabio leadership that is made up of stooges of the executive arm of government. We in the HURIWA are asking those senators so affected negatively from these destructive amendments to file litigation to get the amendments quashed because the amendments are self-serving, lack progressive ideals and are very primitive and unconstitutional”

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Deputy Speaker, Kalu, says, Reps working to promote SMEs through bills, policies

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Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has disclosed that the Parliament is working on a number of bills to effectively promote small-scale and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

He also said that Nigeria under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has already witnessed a series of transformative reforms aimed at repositioning the nation on the
path to sustained economic growth.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Levinus Nwabughiogu quoted Kalu to have made the disclosure at the ground breaking ceremony of the Abia Innovation Industrial Park in Owaza, Ukwa West Local Government Area of the State on Saturday where he joined Governor Alex Otti to perform the ritual.

Initiated by the Abia State Government under the leadership of Otti, the project is expected to foster economic growth, create jobs, and position Abia State as a hub for innovation and industrialization when completed.

He said: “The 10th National Assembly, under the dynamic leadership of the Speaker and myself as Deputy Speaker, has been working tirelessly to complement these reforms with legislative actions that
support economic growth and development.
“7We understand that a
conducive legislative framework is critical to the success of initiatives such
as the Abia Innovation Industrial Park.

“Our legislative agenda is centered around creating an environment that
encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development.

“We are actively working on bills and policies aimed at promoting small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enhancing ease of doing business, and
attracting both local and foreign investments.

“It is not just the Abia State Government that is at work here. We are
fortunate to find ourselves in an era of remarkable leadership at the federal
level. Under the Bola Ahmed Tinubu presidency, Nigeria has witnessed a
series of transformative reforms aimed at repositioning our nation on the
path to sustained economic growth. “

Kalu further said that the industrialization of Abia State is not only a dream but also a well-thought-out strategy, stressing that it aligns perfectly with the broader national goals of achieving self-sufficiency and economic prosperity.

“This groundbreaking ceremony not only marks the beginning of a new industrial park but also symbolizes our unwavering
commitment to honoring the giants of our past while forging ahead into a
brighter future.

“This is the beginning of a new era. An era where innovation, industry, and
opportunity will flourish. An era where the dreams and aspirations of our youth and entrepreneurs will find a home and where Abia State will shine as a beacon of progress in our great nation, ” Kalu said.

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Legislature

Senator Jibrin Echocho celebrates with Nigerians at 63

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Senator Isah Jibrin ( APC Kogi East), has rejoiced with Nigerians on the occasion of 63rd Independence anniversary of the country.

In a statement he personally signed in Abuja on Saturday, the senator urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in their believe in building a strong, united and prosperous country.
“Let us be driven forward by our zeal to strengthen our diversity, culture and beliefs as we remain one nation bound in freedom.
“To my dear constituents, I want to assure you that I will continue to be your voice in the Senate, fighting for your rights and interests with integrity and dedication.
“May this Independence day anniversary bring further positive turnaround, unimaginable fortune, unity of purpose, and breakthrough for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Once again, I felicitate with all the good people of Kogi East, Kogi State, Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, and wish you all the merits of democracy”.

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