• PIB scales first reading at Senate
By Sanni Onogu, Abuja
The Senate moved on Wednesday to place the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) on a 20 per cent first line charge from all revenues accruable to the Federation Account.
This development followed the second reading of a Bill, titled: A Bill for an Act to amend Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, Etc.) Act CAP A 15 LFN 2004, sponsored by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (Akwa Ibom North East).
In his lead debate, Akpan said the Bill seeks to amend the Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, Etc.) Act, “to make the NSIA a first line charge beneficiary of the Federation Account for saving purposes”.
He added: “The Bill seeks to amend Section 1 of the principal Act to provide for additional funding for the NSIA by including the NSIA as a first line charge beneficiary of the monthly distributable funds from the Federation Account.
“We had earlier proposed an amendment to section 162(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) to provide for the inclusion of the Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Funds established under the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (Establishment, Etc.) Act in the distribution of any amount standing to the credit of the Federation Account.
“We had equally proposed an amendment to sections 30(1) and 47(2) of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (Establishment, Etc.) Act Cap A 15 Laws of the Federation, 2004 to provide additional funds for the Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) through a statutory allocation of funds from the monthly revenue accruing from the Federation Account and strengthen the operations and withdrawals from the SWF by the Federation to further boost the confidence of the Federating units in the operations of the Fund to the benefit of all.”
The Bill was referred to the Senate Committee on National Planning for further legislative work.
Also, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) on Wednesday scaled first reading in the Senate.
The Bill, titled: Petroleum Industry Bill, 2020, was sponsored by Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North).
President Muhammadu Buhari had, on Tuesday, transmitted the Bill to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan directed the Acting Clerk of the Senate, Dauda Ibrahim El-Ladan, to ensure that a copy of the Bill is given to each senator in preparation for its second reading next week.
Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had, at the weekend, pledged to break the jinx that had militated against the passage of the Bill after several attempts by the National Assembly.
While the Senate President said the lawmakers need to understand the Bill to ease its passage, the Speaker said the National Assembly would not sacrifice thoroughness on the altar of speed.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, said contrary to reports, the new PIB seeks to commercialise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) rather than abolish it.