Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Two months after the dissolution of the eighth National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari wednesday in Abuja assented to three bills passed by the immediate past federal legislature.
The bills, which have now become the Acts of the National Assembly, are Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act, 2019; Defence Intelligence Agency Civilian Pensions Board (Establishment) Act, 2019 and National Biosafety Management Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019.
A statement by the president’s National Assembly liaison officer, Senator Ita Enang, explained that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) (No. 2) Act amends the 2010 Act by increasing the powers of the commission to enforce the recovery of debt from persons owing legacy banks or seize property used as collateral.
Enang said the new Act also empowers AMCON to: “place any bank account or any other account comparable to a bank account of a debtor of an eligible financial institution under surveillance; obtain access to any computer system component, electronic or mechanical device of any debtor with a view to establishing the location of funds belonging to the debtor, and obtain information in respect of any private account together with all bank financial and commercial records of any debtor of any eligible financial institution, banking secrecy, and the protection of customer confidentiality is not a ground for the denial of the power of the Corporation under this section.’’
He also said the Act mandates AMCON to, despite the convention of confidentiality of banking, business and contracting relations to, among others, ‘’…furnish the federal government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a list of recalcitrant debtors and then impose an obligation to seek clearance on the federal government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies when the federal government, any Ministry, Department or Agency proposes to contract with, or pay, debtors on the list furnished by the Corporation.’’
Enang also said the Act further provides for ‘’a part-time Chairman who shall be a Deputy Governor in the Central Bank of Nigeria to be nominated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.’’
He also said the president signed Defence Intelligence Agency Civilian Pensions Board (Establishment) Act, 2019 which authorises the establishment of an agency charged with the responsibility of administering pension scheme for civilian personnel of the agency.
According to him, the scheme covers pension on voluntary retirement and benefit if death occurs while in active service as well as pension in normal course of retirement.
He added that Buhari as well signed National Biosafety Management Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019 which he said amended the National Biosafety Management Agency Act No. 20, 2015 with the objective of enlarging the scope of application of the Act by including the emerging aspects of modern biotechnology and biosecurity in Nigeria with a view to preventing any adverse effect to human health and environment.
Enang also explained that this amendment empowers the agency to put in place measures aimed at ensuring bio-security, adding that the three Acts take effect immediately.