The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yussuf Lasun presiding
After the opening prayer, the Deputy Speaker adopted plenary votes and proceedings for Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Hon. Kolawole Babtunde brought a petition form constituents who were unduly removed from the Nigeria Police Force. He stated that after the interventions of the Court of Law, they were reinstated, but in the course of time, their colleagues were promoted ahead of them due to the hitch in their own service time. They seek the intervention of the House to correct this.
Hon. Olufemi (Lagos) brought a petition from a contractor with the Ministry of Defense who has not been paid for work executed since 2014 despite several pleas.
Motion of Public importance:
Hon. Kamale Adamu moved the Motion, it was seconded by Hon. Kolawole (Ondo). It was voted on and scheduled for the next Legislative day.
Hon. Istiphanus Gyang moved the Motion, Hon. Diri Doye (Bayelsa) seconded it. It was voted on and scheduled for the next Legislative day.
PRESENTATION OF BILLS
1.Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (HB. 1208) (Hon. Victor Nwokolo) — First Reading.
2.Telecommunications Value Added Services Regulatory Bill, 2017 (HB. 1209) (Hon. Chukwuemeka Ujam) — First Reading.
PRESENTATION OF REPORTS
1. Ad-hoc Committee to Interface with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the Review of the Price of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS):
Hon. Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe:
“That the House do receive the Interim Report of the Ad-hoc Committee to Interface with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the Review of the Price of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) (HR. 218/2016)” (Referred: 29/11/2016).
Hon. Igbokwe moved to lay the Report, it was seconded by Hon. Pondi (Delta) seconded.
2. Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate the Health Implications of Mounting Telecommunications Masts close to Buildings:
Hon. Iboro Ekanem:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate the Health Implications of Mounting Telecommunications Masts close to Buildings (HR. 11/2017)” (Referred: 17/1/2017).
Hon. Ekanem moved to lay the Report, he was seconded by Hon. Mohammed Soba
ORDERS OF THE DAY
BILLS FOR THIRD READING
1.A Bill for an Act to Provide a Legal Framework for the Mainstreaming of Climate Change Responses and Actions into Government Policy Formulation, Implementation and the Establishment of the National Council on Climate Change; and for Related Matters (HB.1020) — Third Reading.
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila moved for the Third Reading of the Bill, Hon. Orker Jev seconded it. It was voted on and passed for Third Reading, the Clerk read the long title.
2. A Bill for an Act to Repeal and Re-enact the National Agricultural Seeds Council; and For Related Matters (HB. 472) — Third Reading.
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila moved for the Third Reading of the Bill, Hon. Orker Jev seconded it. It was put to a vote, passed for third reading and the clerk read the long title.
CONSOLIDATION OF BILLS
3 (a)A Bill for an Act to Amend the Public Accounts Implementation Tribunal Act, Cap. P36, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and to Repeal the Public Accounts Implementation Tribunal Act, Cap. P36, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; and for Other Matters Related Thereto (HBs 340 and 275) (Hon. Ahmed Idris and Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok); and
(b)A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Public Accounts Implementation Tribunal Act, Cap. P36, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and Re-enact the Public Accounts Implementation Tribunal Bill, 2016 which shall, among Other Things, Recover from Public Officers, Contractors or Companies, Government Funds or Properties Found by the Public Accounts Committee to have been Misappropriated or to be Due to the Government of the Federation; and for Related Matters (HB. 632) (Hon. Oni Olamide Johnson).
Hon. Orker Jev moved for the consolidation of the Bills, Hon. Mohammed Sherrif seconded it.
4.(a)A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Manner in which Individuals may, in the Public Interest, Disclose Information that Relate to Unlawful or Other Illegal Conduct or Corrupt Practices of Others, to Provide for the Protection against Victimization of Persons who make these Disclosures and to Reward Individuals who make the Disclosures; and for Related Matters (HB. 1144) (Senate);
(b)A Bill for an Act to Encourage and Facilitate Whistle Blowing, to Regulate the Receiving, Investigating and Otherwise Dealing with Disclosures by Whistle Blowers, and to Protect Whistle Blowers from Reprisals and Other Adverse Actions; and for Related Matters (HB. 1073) (Hon. Kayode Oladele).
Hon. Orker Jev moved for the consolidation of the Bills, Hon. Olajide (Lagos) seconded it.
5.(a)A Bill for an Act to Amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, Cap. E1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to ensure that Forfeited Properties are returned to the Original Owners of the Proceeds of the Crimes or Original Owners of the Properties/Assets; and for Related Matters (HB.795) (Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok); and (b)A Bill for an Act to Amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, Cap. E1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to enable the Commission act within its Jurisdiction; and for Related Matters (HB. 1071) (Hon. Hassan Saleh).
Hon. Orker Jev moved for the consolidation of the Bills, Hon. Binta (Gombe) seconded it.
BILL FOR SECOND READING:
6. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps Act, Cap. N146, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to, among Other Things, Maintain Peace and Order, Protection and Rescuing the Civil Population during Emergency; and for Related Matters (HB. 1117) (Hon. Danasabe Charles Hosea) — Second Reading.
Hon. Hosea moved for the second reading, Hon. Jega seconded the Motion.
Hon. Hosea stated that the Bill seeks to correct typographical errors in the original Act. It also seeks to make stiffer the penalties of contravening the Law, he disclosed that the fine stipulated is obsolete and laughable, penalties are supposed to be deterrents, but cannot when they are way lower than incentives from these illegalities. Hon. Jimoh (Lagos) commended the sponsor of the Bill for the thorough work and preparation as the original Act contains inconsistencies unbecoming of a Law. It was voted on, passed for second reading, the clerk read the second title and it was referred to the Committee on Interior.
7. Need to Establish a Naval School at Borgu, New Bussa Local Government Area of Niger State:
Hon. Ahmed Abu:
Notes that Kainji Dam gets its water from the River Niger which goes through Kebbi, Borgu, Kogi State and Asaba in Delta State to the Atlantic Ocean;
Aware that the Dam, that was built in 1962, is still generating electricity which is being distributed even to Niger Republic;
Also aware that in the boundary areas of the island of Borgu, there are Army and Air Force Schools as well as a College for wild life management;
Informed that the Chief of Naval Staff has identified the need for a Naval School in Borgu and has made a proposal to the Federal Government for the establishment of one;
Convinced that considering the level of insurgency and cross border crimes which are posing a lot of risks to lives and properties, establishing a Naval School in Borgu will be beneficial not only to Nigeria but also to the neighbouring countries;
(i)urge the Federal Government to establish a Naval School at Borgu, New Bussa Local Government Area of Niger State; and
(ii)mandate the Committees on Special Duties, and Navy to ensure implementation and report back in six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Item stepped down by leave of the House
8.Need to Investigate the Handling of Import Duty Revenues, Waivers and Bonds on Import Duties Collected by the Nigeria Customs Service from 2010 to Date:
Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, Hon. Chanchangi Rafiu, Hon. Ayinla Bolaji
Hon. Akinfolarin MayowaHon. Awodumila JohnsonHon. Moh’d Rofia
Hon. Orker-Jev Emmanuel Yisa Hon. Jisalo Zaphaniah Hon. Garba Sabo
Hon. Ossy Prestige ChineduHon. Danburam AbubakarHon. Kila Yuguda H.
Hon. Garba Chede H. Julde Hon. Onyemaechi MrakporHon. Sani Umar Bala:
Notes that the Nigeria Customs Service is mandated, among other things, to collect duties on all goods imported into Nigeria except those that were granted waivers and are on the prohibited list;
Also notes that the Nigeria Customs Service customarily issues Pre-Arrival Assessment Reports which are used to assess duties payable on imported goods but the Reports are sometimes compromised by importers, thereby leading to under payment of duties in billions of Naira;
Aware that the Ministry of Finance gave series of duty waivers to companies in line with the policy of government to assist businesses, but in most cases, the waivers were used to import goods not listed on the approval, thereby depriving the government of the needed revenues;
Also aware that some importers, most times, issue Bank and/or Insurance Bonds to Nigeria Customs Service in lieu of duty payments to enable the importers clear the imported goods immediately and thereafter expected to redeem the Bonds by paying the appropriate duty rates, but information reveals that the Bonds are either partially redeemed or never redeemed at all; Further aware that the inability of the Federal Government to finance the 2017 budget and meet its other obligations made the Ministry of Finance to source for funds from local Banks and the Capital Market through “sukuk” etc., meanwhile there are leakages in revenue collections by the Nigeria Customs Service;
Acknowledges that if those leakages are blocked and the perpetrators punished, Nigeria’s revenue base will increase and there may not be any need to source for funds of any type to fund infrastructural development in the country;
Mandate the Committee on Customs and Excise to:
(i)determine the nature and extent of abuse of the Customs Pre-Arrival Assessment Reports (PAAR) by importers and officials of the Customs Service in order to recover the revenues due to the Federal Government but were not paid;
(ii)investigate the abuse of import duty waivers granted by the Federal Ministry of Finance and its effects on the economy; and
(iii)identify the companies or individuals that have refused to redeem the Bonds even after clearing their imports, and report back in Ninety (90) days for further legislative action.
Hon. Faleke moved the Motion, Hon. Nasir Ahmed seconded it, as an investigative Motion, it was voted on and passed.
9. Need to Investigate the Operational Activities of Webb Fontaine Nigeria Limited in the Nigeria Customs Service Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Between 2013 and 2017, the Violation of Its Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) Time-Line Agreement, Rules of Engagement and Delay in the Handover of its Services to the Nigeria Customs Service:
Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha Hon. Solomon B. Maren
Hon. Sabo GarbaHon. Albert A. AdeogunHon. Yuguda H. Killa
Hon. Gogo Bright T.Hon. Sabo GarbaHon. Bede Eke
Hon. Jisalo B. ZaphaniahHon. Ossy Prestige:
Notes that Webb Fontaine Nigeria Limited is one of the Service Providers for the import and export trade facilitation within Nigeria Customs Service ICT Infrastructure;
Recalls that while other Service Providers like Cotecna, SGS and Global Scan which operated in the various seaports, airports and borders handed over their operations to the Nigeria Customs Service on 1 December, 2013, Webb Fontaine Nigeria Limited never did for some curious reasons;
Aware that Webb Fontaine has transferred almost all its shares to Hong Kong and is left with one share as stated on the deed of transfer of shares Forms 2006 which raises the question of whose economic interest that is being protected by the transfer of nearly all its shares abroad, more so when Hong Kong is not under Nigeria’s jurisdiction;
Concerned that the transfer of the shares to Hong Kong implies that when Webb Fontaine wins a huge service contract in Nigeria, a major chunk of the profit will be transferred offshore to Webb Fontaine Hong Kong;
Cognizant that Webb Fontaine is being monitored from abroad, especially now that it still has some perks of ICT infrastructure relationship with Nigeria Customs Service in the area of application of software as far as Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) and trade facilitations are concerned in Nigeria; Believes that Webb Fontaine appears to be losing interest in Nigeria and consequently does not deliver its services having transferred majority of its shares abroad which calls for a re-examination of the Time-Line Agreement, Rules of Engagement, Schedule of Payment of its services and Corporate Economic and Social Responsibilities so far in Nigeria;
(i)urge the Federal Ministry of Finance to look into its Agreement with Webb Fontaine with a view to exploring the option of handing it over to the Nigeria Customs Service as already done by other Service Providers and also set up a Compliance Monitoring Team that will liaise with the Nigeria Customs Service to further utilize its ICT Infrastructure towards conforming to the World Customs Organization standard; and
(ii)mandate the Committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the operational activities in the Nigeria Customs Service ICT Infrastructure between 2013-2017, violation of its ASYCUDA Time-Line Agreement, Rules of Engagement and the delay in handing over to Nigeria Customs Service when other Service Providers did so in December, 2013, and report back in six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso moved the Motion, Hon. Ali Danbata seconded it, as an investigative Motion, it was voted on and passed
10.Need to Investigate the Allegations that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government Owe ₦115 Billion Tax Liabilities and that Some Taxes Collected by Banks were not Remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS):
Hon. Jerome Amadi:
Notes that with the receding economic recession in the nation, the need to increase government revenues through aggressive taxation drive, policies, remittances and accountability cannot be over emphasized as they constitute the veritable measures towards the country completely exiting recession;
Aware of the low culture of individual and corporate organizations’ tax compliance, despite taxation being the means through which governments can earn extra revenues to bring about the much desired development to the country, especially in the face of declining revenues from Crude Oil;
Also notes the recent allegation by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) that some MDAs are owing the Federal Government ₦115 Billion which is such a serious issue that should not be allowed to be swept under the carpet, especially that those funds could have either been mismanaged or squandered by those Agencies;
Further notes a similar allegation by the then Ag. Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Kabir Mashi on September 3, 2017 at a forum in Abuja that the FIRS is losing huge revenues through MDAs that award contracts to companies without Tax Identification Number (TIN), pointing out that deductions made for Withholding Tax (WHT) or Value Added Tax (VAT) and remitted through Banks are often not transferred to the FIRS;
Mandate the Committees on Finance and Public Accounts to investigate the allegations with a view to determining the amount each Ministry, Department or Agency (MDAs) is owing and for how long the amount had been withheld, make recommendations on how to prevent re-occurrence of this illegality and report back within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Amadi moved the Motion, Hon. Rita Orji seconded it. As an investigative Motion, it was voted on and passed.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS
11 .A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of School of Mines and Geological Studies in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area; and for Related Matters (HB. 105) (Committee of the Whole: 5/10/2017).
Item stepped down by leave of the House
Committee on National Security and Intelligence:
Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji:
“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on National Security and Intelligence on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Firearms Act, Cap. F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to increase Penalties for Offences, Miscellaneous Provisions under the Act and for Matters Connected Therewith (HB. 182) and approve the recommendations therein” (Laid: 24/10/2017).
Item stepped down by leave of the House
House adjourned Plenary till Thursday, November 9, 2017
Media Unit, Office of the Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives