BY Olatunbosun Oyintiloye
Osun Sixth Assembly in Focus; Effective Lawmaking for Better Life
Since its inception last year June, the state of Osun House of Assembly has not only make itself a credible legislative arm of government, but has indeed trail the blaze in the area of passage of quality bills in line with its pledge to make life better for the teeming populace of the state. The legislative arm passed six bills within a year.
Upon its inauguration on the June 2, 2015, the crop of lawmakers in consonance with its leadership despite the numerous challenges facing the state, particularly cash crunch, resolve and hit the ground running in the business of lawmaking.
The lawmakers which set aside personal comfort and adopted the vow of personal sacrifice, commenced sitting without the necessary entitlements attached to their offices.
It, therefore, suspended recess to allow for the presentation of 2016 budget. From the outset many bills were considered, seven has been passed, some have been assented to and have become laws while others are waiting executive assent.
The bills include; Osun Public Procurement Agency Bill, Osun Land Use Charge Bill, Osun Primary Healthcare Development Board (Establishment) Bill, Osun Street Trading and Illegal Market (Prohibition) Bill, Omoluabi Conservation Fund (repeal) Bill,Osun Micro-credit Agency (Establishment) Bill and Osun 2016 Appropriation Bill.
The Osun Public Procurement Agency Bill passed on Monday, October 19, 2015, now a law was targeted towards enhancing due process in the bidding and procurement through probity, accountability and transparency.
The law aimed to check undue influence and interference in the procurement process; and to adequately involve the public in the procurement process. Also, it was aimed at attracting intervention and assistance of development partners and foreign investors.
Also, the law will enhance public confidence and trust in government and help to regulate, guide and protect the interest of the masses.
Similarly, Osun Land Use Charge Bill, passed on Monday, February 8, 2016 now a law was aimed at ensuring the consolidation of all property land based rates law, the neighborhood improvement charge law and tenement rate law into one, called Land Use Charge Law.
The law, will among other things, improve the IGR of the state through enhanced payment of rate and levies on property to the coffers of the government.
In considering this bill, the Assembly involved experts and ensure that it arrived at a reasonable rate for payment in line with their suggestions to ensure that unnecessary burdens are not place on them. An executive bill sent to the lawmakers and passed into law is the Osun Primary Healthcare Development Board (Establishment) Bill, passed on Tuesday, February 16, 2016. The law which was one of the six integral action plan of the state government is the restoration of healthy living, hence, the law will help in taking care of the health needs of the less-privileged.
It will enhance efficient monitoring of healthcare system at the state and local government levels as well as, make assistance of international donors on healthcare delivery accessible to the government.
Next in line is the Osun Street Trading and Illegal Market (Prohibition) Bill, passed on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Waiting for the governor’s assent and when it is finally assented to, is meant to enhance free-flow of traffic and pedestrians; ensure clean and tidy environment; and prohibit unauthorised pasting of banners and erection of containers.
Meanwhile, the House of Assembly also passed the Omoluabi Conservation Fund (repeal) bill, on Monday, April 11, 2016, aimed at allowing the government have access to the fund to carry out infrastructural development. Presently, part of the fund is being used to construct the Odi-Olowo-Isale-Osun/Ita-Olokan road newly named Workers’ Drive by the state Governor.
In line with state administration quest to reduce poverty among the population, the lawmakers passed the Osun Micro-credit Agency (Establishment) bill on April 26, 2016. The bill when eventually signed into law would serve as effective tool to liberate people from the bondage of poverty; help people to be self-employed.
Osun 2016 Appropriation Bill, passed on Wednesday , May 11th 2016, refers to as 2016 budget focused on the completion of on-going projects across the state and will be revenue-driven in the sense that the largest percentage of it will be financed by IGR, hence, there would not be heavy reliance on the federal allocations, which is dwindling by the day.
The Assembly also has been serving as a stabilizing factor in the state polity, intervening in issues that would have raised tension on many occasions such as the case of sacking of workers of the state-owned higher institutions by their governing boards. In the area of oversight functions, the 6th Assembly has strengthened its machinery to ensure the blockage of loopholes in the revenue of the state and increase its Internally Generated Revenue without putting unnecessary burden on the people. It is also on course by ensuring that the ongoing projects across the state are completed and complies with contractual agreement.
One of such oversight functions was on the audit carried out on the management of IGR by the state-owned tertiary institution namely OSPOLY Iree;
OSCOTECH Esa-Oke; NCEs Ila-Orangun and Ilesa. Investigation into the matter revealed that after all the expenditure of the institutions might have been removed from their total revenue, there were surplus running into billions of naira which were not accounted for since 2011.
Consequently, the Assembly has passed a resolution, compelling the institutions to automate the payment of its fee to block leakages and make the institution self-dependent.
Also, the Assembly addressed cases of tax defaulters by some mobile network providers. They were summoned, drastic decision was taken, including order to seal of the offices of some of them. The measure changed the trend and the state was now getting improved revenue from the sector.
The Assembly has also taken step on the indiscriminate citing of filling stations across the state by summoning all the agencies and officials whose jobs are related to citing of filling stations and such other structures. The house took a drastic step by ordering the stoppage of work on all ongoing construction of filling stations that have not complied with the law guiding such construction.
Meanwhile, before passing any bill or resolution, the assembly was thorough, researched all options and reasoned deeply to arrive at logical conclusion. More so, professional backgrounds and experiences of each member became a leverage for successes in the business of the house.
All of these feats ware made possible due to the maturity of members and the impressive leadership style of the speaker, Rt. Hon. Najeem Salaam.
– Oyintiloye is the Chairman House Committee on information and Strategy, Osun State House Assembly