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 21, 2017
Hon. Eucharia (Anambra) brought a petition from her constituent who imported some goods from China with guarantees, which turned out to be a fluke, as the products are substandard, fake and already degrading after only a year. She urged the House to intervene.
Hon. Aminu Suleiman brought a petition from 15 retired Members of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing who are expressing grievances for not getting their gratuities and monthly pensions after retirement as is the normal practice.
Petitions referred to the Committee of Public Petitions
PRESENTATION OF REPORT
Committee on Tertiary Education and Services:
Hon. Aminu Suleiman:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Tertiary Education and Services on a Bill for an Act to Amend the National Universities Commission Act, Cap. N81, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Empower the Commission to set out Code of Conduct for Assessment of Universities’ Students Characters alongside Academic Performance as Condition Precedent to Award of Degrees to Deserving Students and to make it Mandatory for Immediate Issuance and Release of Certificates to Graduating Students in all Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB. 56 and 439)” (Referred: 28/4/2016).
Hon. Suleiman moved for the presentation of the Report, Hon. Goni Bukar seconded it.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
1. A Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal College of Education, Monguno to Provide Full-time Courses, Teaching Instructions and Training in Technology, Applied Sciences, Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Management; and to Provide for the Appointment of the Provost and Other Officers of the College to carry out the Administration and Disciplining of Students of the College; and for Related Matters (HB. 1215) (Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno) — Second Reading.
Hon. M.T Monguno moved for the Bill, Hon. Nenna Ukeje seconded it.
Hon. Monguno stated that each State is supposed to have the privilege of having both a Federal Government University and Polytechnic, which should be the basic. Borno State however, being an old State and educationally disadvantaged has only the University of Maiduguri as a Federal Institute of learning. The need for a Federal College of Education or Polytechnic can therefore not be overemphasized in the area in terms of education provision, for the sense of fairness and equity, to promote employment opportunities and eliminate the educationally disadvantaged identity hung on Borno State. On the ground of equity, fairness and the need to curb insurgency through education/advocacy, and to remove the stigma of being educationally backward, Members supported the Bill with one voice, also on the need to further site more Federal Institutions of Higher learning in the State. It was put to a vote, passed for Second Reading, the clerk read the long title of the Bill and it was referred to the House Committee Tertiary Education and Sevices.
2. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Evidence Act, 2011 to Accommodate Modern Development Relating to Admissibility of Confessional Statement; to Render Illegally Obtained Evidence Inadmissible; Give Discretion to the Court with Regard to Certification of Electronically Generated Documents; Provide for Admissibility of Public Documents without Makers of such Documents being called as Witnesses; and to Stipulate a Time Limit on the Presumption of Validity of Judicially Noticed Customs and to Impose a Duty on the Courts to Ensure that Customs that have been Judicially Noticed and not thereafter been Subjected to Proof by Evidence for an Inordinately Long Period of Time are Reviewed by the Courts to Ascertain that they are still Representative of the Customs as they are Currently Practised in the Communities with Respect to which the Customs Relate; and for Related Matters (HBs. 1149, 1188 and 1192) (Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok, Hon. Rita Orji and Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad) — Second Reading.
Item stepped down by leave of the House
3. A Bill for an Act to Establish the Maritime Security Agency to Promote Maritime Security and to provide, among Other Things, for the Establishment of the Maritime Security Agency charged with the Responsibility of Providing Security and Safety Information and Communication Facilities for all Categories of Users of the Nigerian Maritime Industry; and for Related Matters (HB. 968)” (Hon. Ntufam Eta Mbora) — Second Reading.
Hon. Mbora moved for the second reading of the Bill, Hon. Lovette Idisi seconded it.
Hon. Mbora stated that the establishment of the Maritime Agency will improve the security and know-how in the Maritime Sector which is a vital sector of economic value in the diversification drive of the economy by the Government of the day. He pointed out that the Bill had been introduced in the 6th Assembly, but did not get assent, he prayed that the Bill would meet a more favorably fate in the 8th Assembly and asked for the support of Members to ensure this is so. Hon. Lovette Idisi in contributing to the debate stated that the insecurity on the waterways is as deadly as is found anywhere else. Apart from that the level of crime on these waterways that bleed the Nigerian economy cannot continue to go neglected by a serious minded society. Hon. Abubakar Chika stated that the Bill will aid the overstretched work of the Nigerian Navy, and will check economic losses as well as the lingering question of insecurity. This is essential considering the great vast space of the Nigerian waterways. Hon. Bode Ayorinde stated that the water holds enormous resources for Nigeria that needs to be protected and harnessed properly and it is in line with proper standards obtainable worldwide. The question was put to a vote, passed for second reading, the clerk read the long title of the Bill and it was referred to the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration.
4. 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP):
Notes that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, 17, October, 2017 forwarded a Request to the House of Representatives for approval of the 2018- 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP);
Aware that Section 11 (2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 provides that the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) shall be considered for approval with such modifications, if any, as the National Assembly finds appropriate by a Resolution of each House of the National Assembly;
Also notes that Section 11 (3) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 provides that the Medium Term Expenditure Framework shall contain, among other things, a macro-economic framework setting out the macro-economic projections for the next three financial years, the underlying assumptions for those projections and an evaluation and analysis of the macro-economic projections for the preceding three financial years;
Recalls that upon reading the Communication from the President, the Request was referred to the relevant Committees without debate;
(i)set aside the earlier referral to enable debate on the Request; and
(ii)commit the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the Committees on Finance, Appropriations, National Planning and Economic Development, Legislative Budget and Research and, Aids, Loans and Debt Management to scrutinize and make recommendations to the House.
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila moved the Motion, Hon. Buba Jubrin seconded the Motion. Hon. Femi stated that the Motion is to correct the abnormally that the MTEF was first referred to the Committees without first debating. So the Motion seeks to both correct that, ask for the debate, before resending it to the relevant Committee. Hon. Betty Apiafi raised a Point of Order under the leave of Personal Explanation. She stated that the MTEF should have been considered before the laying of the budget by the President. She stated that unless the debate will affect the figures in the budget and set benchmarks of the 2018 Appropriation Act, the debate is useless. In ruling, the Deputy Speaker explained that the House is in line, and there is time and opportunity given to Members to effect the necessary changes. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as the Leader of the House, in clarifying quoted Section 1 of the Constitution that the budget can be brought before the end of the financial year. He urged for the debate to proceed in good faith and for the financial good of the nation to progress. In contributing to the debate, Hon. Daniel Asuquo stated that the proposed document of the Power recovery plan by the Executive solves one problem, while leaving a mirage of problems unsolved, and as the House Chairman on Power, he had a mandate to state this. Hon. Nenna Ukeje stated that the MTEF document does not reflect situations on ground especially pertaining to the price and production volume of oil which still remains the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. Hon. Daniel Reyenieju stated that indices and numbers in the MTEF need to be looked into, and the concerns of Members should not just be looked at on just Party lines and affiliations, but on the voice of patriotism. Hon. Aliyu Pategi stated that the MTEF is made up of assumptions and the debate is to guide and form the direction of the Money Bill. It should be seen as a patriotic call by the House to do the right thing for Nigeria. Hon. Kayode Ayodele stated that the happenings in 2017 is a good basis for patterning the MTEF against 2018 and beyond. In this light, he stated that looking at the recent production per barrel of N.N.P.C, the nation is not doing badly, this can also be said to be same for the international oil price, so it is safe to be optimistic in planning. He however raised a concern on the official exchange rate of the Naira to the Dollar, which he asked for proper monitoring and evaluation. Hon. Pally Iriase stated that caution must be taken on the oil production estimates and targets, unless the determinant measures such as security in the Niger Delta and Refinery production capacities can be assured. The Motion was put to a vote, passed and referred to the relevant Committees.
5. Need to Review the Condition of Service of Medical Personnel and Improve the State of Health Institutions in Nigeria:
Hon. Bode Ayorinde:
Notes that Section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of Government;
Also notes that access to medical care for a larger percentage of the citizens of any nation is a major determinant of the welfare level of the citizens but a situation where the nation’s hospitals operate without the required number of doctors cannot be regarded as commensurate with the provision of welfare for the citizens by the Government;
Aware of the press release by the Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State Chapter, Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote, which painted a pathetic picture of the state of health care delivery in the country which has precipitated an exodus of medical doctors from Nigeria that has reached an alarming proportion in the form of:
(i)more than 40,000 of the 75,000 registered Nigerian doctors practicing abroad while 70% of the remaining 35,000 are currently processing their papers to relocate outside Nigeria in search of greener pastures,
(ii)100 doctors having resigned from the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan in 2017 alone while 800 doctors resigned from Lagos State Hospitals in the last two years,
(iii)Kebbi State not having been able to employ a single doctor for its hospitals in two years despite multiple advertisements for recruitment,
(iv)over 200 doctors and nurses having resigned from Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso in the last one year;
Also aware that the consistent underfunding and neglect of the nation’s health care system over the years have led to its moribund state that is characterized by decrepit equipment, poor quality services, avoidable deaths as a result of lack of experience of personnel, lack of drugs and prescription of expired drugs, etc.;
Cognizant that the nation has been classified as needing 303,333 medical doctors at the moment and also requiring another 10,605 new doctors annually to meet the demand of providing good and quality patient care to the citizenry;
Concerned that the 2018 budget proposal made provision of only 3.9% for the health sector against the benchmark of 15% of the total annual budget as prescribed by the World Health Organisation;
Mandate the Committees on Health Institutions, and Healthcare Services to engage stakeholders in the health sector on the precarious situation of health care delivery in the country and report back in four (4) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Ayorinde moved the Motion, Hon. Famurewa Ajibola Seconded it.
Hon. Ayorinde stated that medical tourism is a clear and present challenge as there are reliable sources that claim that over 70% of the best Doctors in Nigeria are either relocated abroad, or in the process of doing so. Hon. Betty Apiafi stated that as Chairperson of one of the House Committees charged with over-sighting the Health sector, she is in a know of the inner workings of Health care institutions and the staff, she stated that it is a wonder indeed how these Healthcare Institutes still remain effective. She stated that the things wrong with the Healthcare system are all encompassing, and it would take the strong commitment of the Government to right the wrongs that have eaten so deep into the core of the system. Hon. Nenna said that Nigeria has more than 50,000 Nigerian Doctors practicing abroad due to what she has heard them say: “Being a Doctor in Nigeria is trading in poverty”. She quoted statistics that show more Nigerian Doctors are writing exams to relocate abroad than those seeking to practice locally. Statistics she termed as damning. Hon. Ujam Chukwuemeka urged the House to as point of importance impose a State of Emergency on the Health Sector of Nigeria. Hon. Oghene (Lagos) reminded all that if Nigeria fixed the Healthcare sector, the Doctors would not leave and Medical tourism would be minimal. The Motion was voted on and passed.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT
6. Committee on Telecommunications:
Hon. Saheed Akinade-Fijabi:
“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Telecommunications on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Stamp Duties Act, Cap. S8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to ensure Compliance with Current Realities and for Related Matters (HB. 889) and approve the recommendations therein” (Adjourned Consideration: 24/10/2017).
Hon. Atunwa Razak stated that the clauses to be considered in the Report can be done and the fact that some of it is under litigation, the line of discourse being proposed will not compromise the process. Hon. Femi Gbajiamila stated that though he agrees with the position brought forward by Hon. Atunwa, the debate should be properly guided as not to be in contravention of Laws they as Lawmakers help in formulating. With this, the House proceeded to consider the Report.
Hon. Saheed Fijabi moved for the consideration of the Report, Hon. Ujam Chukwuemeka seconded it.
HOUSE IN THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE:
Hon. Saheed Fijabi stated that the Bill seeks to make the sector compliant with the e-nature as it is internationally. The House then voted and carried clauses 2, 5, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29.
HOUSE IN PLENARY
The House in Plenary adopted Proceedings it undertook in the Committee of the Whole.
The House adjourned Plenary till Thursday, November 23, 2017 by 11:00 Am
Media Unit, Office of the Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives