- Expresses concern over non-assent to anti-corruption bills
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate Thursday vowed to ensure the merger of some of the over 700 federal agencies in the country believed to be draining the nation’s scarce resources.
The upper legislative chamber argued that most of the agencies and parastatals were not productive, but only depended on budget allocations from federal government to survive.
The Senate also Thursday referred the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the committees on Finance and National Planning.
It mandated the committes to submit their report on Wednesday, October 2, at the plenary.
The Senate also threatened that it would either merge or eliminate these identified agencies, as some of the agencies are not adding value to the nation’s economy.
The lawmakers took this position at plenary when it considered the report of the Senator Adamu Aliero-led Ad-hoc Committee on the Ninth Senate Legislative Agenda.
Forty five out of the 109 Senators, who took turns to contribute to the report over a five-hour period, expressed their views.
The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, while summing up the debate said, “we must face reality of making the economy work for the people.
“The number of federal agencies in this country is too many, more than 700 of them. Either we merge or eliminate some of them, because some of them don’t add value to the nation, they depend on the budget to survive.
“We will also do something about the electoral reform, it is supposed to be a continuous thing. We have to do something because of what we witnessed in the last election.
“We should start on time before the next election latest by 2021 so that it will not be problematic.”
Lawan, while also commenting on consumer reform, said it is not ideal to pay for goods especially car and house at once as such action encourages corruption.
“I think it will be better that when you are buying a car or a house, you should not pay at once, because it encourages corruption.”
Chairman of the Senate committee on Aviation, Senator Dino Melaye, earlier in his contribution, spoke on issues that need urgent intervention.
According to him, “There is a need to review our curriculum, to carry subjects like civic education, nationalism, moral philosophy that will bind us together as a people.
On annual budget presentation, Melaye declared that “the issue of budget passage is a major problem that we must look at.
“Over 70 per cent of the bills passed in the Eighth Senate were not assented to by Mr. President. This is outrageously calamitous. It calls for instantaneous correction. The process of bill is cumbersome”.
He also commented on the rising wave of corruption in the country saying “95 per cent of corruption is this country is through procurement”.
On his part, Chairman of the Senate committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Rochas Okorocha urged the Senate to introduce the principle of sacrifice, adding, “we must cut our coat according to the materials available.”
On his part, the Chairman of Senate committee on Primary Healthcare and communicable diseases, Senator Chukwuka Utazi submitted that the proceeds of corruption bill that was passed before the close of the Eighth Senate has not been signed and it is still lingering.