Some senators have rejected the “Emergency Economic Stabilisation Bill 2016” being put forward by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The bill, which is based on recommendations by the National Economic Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, seeks to grant emergency powers to President Buhari to enable him take some decisions that will help to push his planned stimulus for the economy without consulting them.
ThisDay reports that many of the senators who spoke on condition of anonymity, say the bill if passed, will turn the president into a tyrant.
They described the bill as “dead on arrival”. They accused the President of repeatedly trampling on the powers of the legislature even without any extra power and stated that if the proposed emergency power is granted to him, the President would more or less reduce the National Assembly to a rubber stamp like the kinds of legislature that exist in China and Russia.
A source at the presidency told newsmen over the weekend that the proposed Emergency Economic Stability bill is geared towards addressing the bottlenecks in contract issuance, payment for contracts, release of funds, visa issuance for expatriates and other areas that if addressed will help the country economically.
According to the source, the bill if passed will give President Buhari power to:
- abridge the procurement process to support stimulus spending on critical sectors of the economy;
- make orders to favour local contractors/suppliers in contract awards;
- abridge the process of sale or lease of government assets to generate revenue;
- allow virement of budgetary allocation to projects that are urgent, without going back to the National Assembly.
- amend certain laws, such as the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act, so that states that cannot access their cash trapped in the accounts of the commission because they cannot meet the counterpart funding, can do so; and
- to embark on radical reforms in visa issuance at Nigeria’s consular offices and on arrival in the country and to compel some agencies of government like the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the National Agency for Foods Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and others to improve on their turn around operation time for the benefit of business.