Chairman, House Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon. Jones Onyereri
By Onwuka Nzeshi
A bill seeking to amend the Nigeria Export Import Bank (Establishment) Act to compel banks to have more dealings with the National Assembly scaled second reading Wednesday at the House of Representatives.
The bill scaled the hurdle same day the House threatened not to approve the 2013 budget estimates of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) following delay in its presentation.
The NEXIM bill seeks to amend Section 16 of the Principal Act to compel the bank to prepare the annual reports of its operations and finances and forward same to the National Assembly. It also makes provisions for the appointment of a legal practitioner as the Board Secretary and will also compel the bank to submit through the President its annual budget to the National Assembly.
Chairman, House Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon. Jones Onyereri, who led the debate on the bill said the Act was being further amended to provide for a tenure of not more than four years for board members.
Onyereri explained that this was to strengthen the board and bring it in line with the current trends in the industry.
According to him, the bill also has also made provision for a board secretary of not less than ten years experience in legal practice. The bill scaled second reading and was referred to the Committee on Baking and Currency for further legislative work.
Meanwhile, the House has threatened that the EFCC may end up with zero budget in 2013.
Chairman, House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba, allegedly accused the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, of taking the lawmakers for granted by not presenting the budget on time.
The committee expressed displeasure that despite a letter of invitation dated November 25 and addressed to Lamorde, he absented himself from the budget defence meeting without any apology.
Jagaba, however, gave Lamorde five days within which he should brief the lawmakers on the performance of 2012 budget and defend that of 2013 budget estimates.
The ultimatum is expected to elapse by 11a.m. next Monday and the EFCC risks zero allocation for the coming fiscal year if Lamorde failed to comply with the directive.
“EFCC has turned down previous offers of this committee to do oversight on 2012 budget. A lot of things are being taken for granted, and it appears EFCC is working against the rules of this House.
“This committee is not happy with the attitude of this Agency, we are giving warning because we deserve some respect. If the EFCC Chairman doesn’t meet the 11a.m. Monday appointment, it means you (EFCC) don’t need money to run this agency in 2013 and you risk zero allocation,” Jagaba said.
Secretary of the EFCC, Mr. Emmanuel Akomaye, who led other eight directors of the commission to the budget defence, explained that Lamorde was absent because he travelled out of the country on an official assignment two days ago.