Franchise Agreements Regulation Bill Passes Second Reading in House

*Lawmakers propose mandatory appointment of FEC chairman, secretary from different regions

Udora Orizu in Abuja

Members of the House of Representatives at the plenary yesterday passed through the second reading of a bill seeking to create a framework for the regulation of franchising and the relationship between franchisors and franchisees in Nigeria.

The bill which was sent to the House for concurrence was opposed by minority lawmakers.

Recall that the sponsor of the bill, Senator Adetokunbo Abiru, had in his lead debate at the red chamber last year urged Nigeria to regulate the franchise system in the country in accordance with global best practices.

Abiru’s argument was premised on efforts to enhance the economic development of the country.

According to him, Nigeria has no law that regulates franchising, hence franchisors who did not register their trademarks prior to granting a franchise maybe exposing Nigerian franchisees to possible litigation.

But when the bill was presented for a second reading at the House by its Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason, a member of the main opposition party, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) opposed it by pointing out that issues the bill would solve have already been covered by Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).

Corroborating Ossai’s view, Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), also suggested that the leader of the house should address the lawmakers on the economics of the bill.

However, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, told Ossai to furnish the lawmakers with the portions of the CAMA that dealt with franchise agreements. 

Gbajabiamila, thereafter, put the bill to a voice vote and it was passed.

The lawmakers also passed through second reading a bill proposing the appointment of the chairman and secretary of the Federal Character Commission (FEC) from the different regions of the country (North and South).

The proposed legislation, which is titled “a Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal Character Commission (Establishment Etc) Act, 2004 to make the Appointment of the Chairman and Secretary from Different Regions of the Country to Reflect the Principle of Federal Character,” was sponsored by Hon. Unyime Idem (PDP, Akwa Ibom).

Leading the debate on its general principles, Idem said that the bill sought to amongst others put in place a legal framework and guide for the appointment of the two key positions of the commission to be from the two regions of the country.

According to him, the proposed legislation would amend Section 9 of the principal act for effective administration of the objectives of the commission and equitable distribution of the key positions in the agency. 

He said: “This bill seeks to amend the provision of the Act to reinstate the position that the two critical positions to be appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria be expressly and mandatorily from each region of the country for the effective running and administration of the objectives of setting up of the commission.

“All the amendments are imputed to strengthen the administration, organisation and management of the commission in line with best practices and global standards.”

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