•Lawmakers hold national summit on tertiary education next week
•Buhari transmits FCT, NDDC budgets, CCT Bill to house
Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday said the lawmakers are working to ensure that in line with the reforms of the ninth Assembly, they have the 2023 Appropriation Bill ready for presidential assent before the end of the year.
This was just as President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday transmitted the 2023 statutory budget proposals of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the House of Representatives for approval.
Gbajabiamila, disclosed the plan by the lawmakers to ensure that the 2023 Appropriation Bill was ready for presidential assent before the end of the year, while delivering his welcome address at the resumed plenary after three weeks budget defence.
He also said the House would convene a national summit on tertiary education reform next Tuesday and Wednesday, as part of the efforts to meet its legislative agenda commitments to Nigerians.
The Speaker while noting that it was not an easy task to deliver an implementable budget at a time of significant financial limitations, especially ahead of a general election, he expressed optimism that the budget would be ready and assented to by the president next month.
He said, “The limited time available for budget consideration and the demands of the fast-approaching national elections further complicate the picture. However, I am confident that members of the House are alive to our responsibilities and will deliver our objectives in good time and to the benefit of our country.”
On the summit, Gbajabiamila said the meeting would be an opportunity to begin the long overdue national conversation about the future of public tertiary education in Nigeria.
He assured that the presentations and submissions would inform the policy recommendations of the summit and be published in a journal for policy action and academic reference.
“Scholars, tertiary education administrators and local and international stakeholders have been invited to submit papers on the theme of the summit – “Reimagining Tertiary Education in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Solutions,” – and other sub-themes provided in a call for memoranda. The most consequential decisions we make in government are those that will ensure the vast population of young people in our country are educated and adequately equipped to participate productively in the modern global economy.
“To achieve this, we must ask and answer complex questions about the operating structure of our public tertiary institutions, sustainable funding, education quality and access.
“I urge all members of the House to participate in this crucial national conversation so that your experience, expertise and concerns inform the policy recommendations that emerge from the summit,” he said.
Buhari Transmits FCT, NDDC Budgets, CCT Bill to House
Meanwhile, Buhari has transmitted the 2023 statutory budget proposals of the FCT and the NDDC to the House of Representatives for approval.
Buhari also transmitted to the lawmakers, the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal (CCT) and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria alteration bills 2022 for its consideration.
These were contained in three separate letters from the President read by Gbajabiamila, at the resumption of plenary yesterday.
In the letter for the budget, Buhari explained that the conveyance of the FCT statutory budget which he said aligned with the federal government’s fiscal development policies was pursuant to section 121 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“Pursuant to section 121 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, I forward the Federal Capital Territory 2023 statutory budget proposal for the kind consideration of the House of Representatives.
“In the preparation of the Federal Capital Territory’s 2023 budget, the Federal Capital Territory Administration aligns with the federal government’s fiscal development policies.
“Accordingly, the FCT 2023 budget proposal prioritises improvement in healthcare services, job creation, youth empowerment, social welfare services, education and increased productivity in agriculture in our determination to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“We also hope that this submission will receive the usual expeditious considerations of the House,” the letter read.
On the NDDC budget, the letter read: “In accordance with section 18(1) of the Niger Delta Development Commission Establishment Act, I forward herewith the 2023 estimate of the Niger Delta Development Commission for the kind consideration and passage of the House of Representatives. For the CCT and Constitution alteration bills, Buhari said the aim is to ensure the effective performance of the functions of the bureau and assist the tribunal in the effective and speed dispensation of cases.
“Pursuant to section 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I forward herewith the Code of Conduct and Tribunal bill 2022 and the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria Alteration bill 2022 for the kind consideration of the House of Representatives.”
Also, for constitution alteration bill 2022, he said it aims to ensure effective performance of the functions of the Code of Conduct and assist the Code of Conduct Tribunal in the effective and speed dispensation of cases.
He urged the lawmakers to consider the budgets and bill for speedy passage into law.