House Passes Bill to Exempt National Assembly from Contributory Pension Scheme

*Urges NNPC to establish, equip more depots across Nigeria 

Udora Orizu and Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The House of Representatives yesterday passed through second reading a bill to amend the Pension Reform Act, 2014 to exempt personnel of National Assembly Service from the contributory pension scheme and to establish the National Assembly Service Pensions Board.

The Bill titled, “Bill for an Act to Amend the Pension Reform Act, 2014 to Exclude/Exempt the National Assembly Service from the Contributory Pension Scheme and Establish the National Assembly Service Pension Board; and for Related Matters (HB. 2025),” was sponsored by the Chairman Committee on National Planning and Economy Development, Hon. Olododo Cook.

Leading the debate, Cook said the bill intended to exit the National Assembly Service from the application of the contributory pension’s scheme under the Pensions Reform Act, 2014, and the board when established would be charged with the responsibility of administering the pension’s scheme for personnel of the Service.
According to him, “The proposed amendments provide that there is established a Pension Board (in this bill referred to as ‘the Board’) which shall be charged with the responsibility of managing payment of pensions and gratuities to all personnel of the Service.

“The bill shall apply to all personnel of the National Assembly Service including those who had retired before the commencement of this bill. The retirement benefits of personnel referred to in sub-section (2) shall be adjusted to be commensurate with the provisions of this bill.

“They shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, all such sums of money as may, from time to time, be granted by the federal government by way of pension and gratuity in accordance with this bill.

“The proposed legislation states that no pension or gratuity shall be granted to any personnel except on his retirement from the Service in any of the following circumstances. (a) after serving for forty (40) years or attained the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier; (b) upon voluntary retirement after serving for not less than ten years; (c) upon compulsory retirement under the provisions of Section 5 (1) of this bill; (d) upon compulsory retirement for the purpose of facilitating improvements in the Service, so that greater efficiency or economy may be effected.”
In his brief comment, the Speaker Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said the bill was important as it seeks autonomy of the National Assembly so that the parliament would not be attached to the effrontery of the Executive.

In a related development, the House during the consideration of reports at its Committee of the Whole, okayed a bill to make provisions for retirement age of staff of legislative houses in Nigeria.

House Urges NNPC to Establish, Equip More Depots across Nigeria

Meanwhile, the House of representatives has urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) to establish and equip more depots across the country and strictly regulate the operations of private depot owners.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on the, “Need to Establish More Petrol Depots in Nigeria,” moved by Hon. Uju Kingsley yesterday at the plenary session.

Kingsley noted that there are insufficient depots to store petroleum products in Nigeria, adding that an estimated 100 million litres of bad petrol imported into the country had resulted to fuel scarcity in Nigeria with the consequent effect of adulteration of the product by roadside black market vendors.

He expressed concern that the proliferation of adulterated petrol had caused severe damage to vehicle engines and inflicted more pains on the people and despite seeming efforts to address the fuel scarcity, long queues and shortage of the product still persist at fueling stations across the country.

Furthermore, he added that according to media reports, in a rare admission of responsibility, the NNPC accepted that there had been a lapse in its supply chain.
“According to information available on the official website of the NNPC, Nigeria has 5,000 kilometres of pipeline network, 21 storage depots and nine LPG depots which are grossly inadequate to effectively serve the 36 states of the country as well as the Federal Capital Territory, hence the recurrent fuel scarcity.

“Many other depots are owned by private individuals who receive fuel from the NNPC and then sell at exorbitant prices, causing unnecessary irregularities in the price of the product across the country.
“If more fuel depots are established, fuel scarcity will be curbed while more employment opportunities will be created as a result, thus improving the country’s economy.”

The House however mandated its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to ensure compliance.

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