CONSTITUTIONAL RESTRUCTURING: Senate Removes 6 Items From Exclusive List | READ IN FULL


CONSTITUTIONAL RESTRUCTURING: Senate Removes 6 Items From Exclusive List | READ IN FULL

By Nancy Okafor:

Constitutional move to restructure Nigeria received a massive push on Tuesday after Federal lawmakers in the Senate removed at least six items out of the Sixty-eight items on the Exclusive legislative list; transferring same to the Concurrent legislative list.

This however was as the lawmakers voted against the inclusion of Value Added Tax(VAT) on the Exclusive Legislative list.

The Alteration on the Exclusive Legislative list came as lawmakers voted on various bills on Devolution of Power contained in the proposed Constitutional Amendment bill.

Top on the list was the removal of airports from the Exclusive legislative list, allowing State government the powers to establish, maintain and operate their own airports.


The lawmakers also removed railways, electricity from the Exclusive legislative list; depositing same in the Concurrent list.

The upper legislative chamber also removed fingerprints, identification and Criminal records from the Exclusive legislative list to enable State Governments who wish to establish criminal database do so


The Senate also thought it wise to remove Prisons from the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government, sharing the responsibility with State governments.


Perhaps the most controversial on the day was the Valued Added Tax bill.

The proponents of the bill said it was necessary to prevent the confusion that will inevitably arise with some States passing their own individual laws in respect of VAT. It is also to prevent multiple taxation and extreme difficulty in the administration of VAT.

The issue of VAT collection had generated serious controversy late last year between the Federal Government,

Rivers and Lagos State governments.


When it was time to vote on the VAT bill, lawmakers were not able to secure the required 73 votes to get it passed. While 44 of them voted against it, only 41 of them voted in support of the bill.


All of these was as Senate strengthened the Local Government when it approved and passed the bills seeking financial and administrative autonomy.

But it was not the only bill rejected on the day. Most of the gender bills suffered severe setback despite starting with the bill that seeks to create 111 additional seats for women in the National and State Assemblies.


The presence of the Wife of the Vice President, Dolapo Osibanjo in the Senate was not enough to save the bill from being squashed by the lawmakers.


Senate rejected the bill on the procedure to override Presidential veto as well as the one on removal of National Assembly presiding officers.


The lawmakers turned down life pension for President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila and others even as they rejected the tempting offer of immunity for serving presiding officer.

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