Devolution of Powers: National Assembly passes five bills, rejects VAT bill

Devolution of Powers: National Assembly passes five bills, rejects VAT bill

The bills were part of the 68 proposed by the joint committee of the National Assembly on constitution review

ByQueenEsther Iroanusi

The National Assembly on Tuesday passed five bills on devolution of powers.

They were part of the 68 amendment bills proposed by the joint committee of the Federal legislature on constitution review.

The bills seek to give states control of some sectors by removing them from the Executive list to the Concurrent list.

The lawmakers, however, rejected one of such bills – the Value Added Tax (VAT) bill.

The “bill for an Act to Alter Part I of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to include Value Added Tax on the Exclusive Legislative List”, was borne from the “feud” between the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in 2021, over rights to collect Value Added Tax.

The former had made moves to legally own the rights. It also approached the National Assembly and asked that it include the collection of VAT in the exclusive legislative list – an amendment to the Constitution.

During the voting process at plenary, the bill recorded a low number of votes – below the required number needed for it to pass.

At the Senate, 41 lawmakers voted in favour of the legislation while 44 voted against.

And at the House of Representatives, 209 members voted against and it only 91 voted in favour of the legislation.

Fives bills passed

Some of the legislations on devolution of powers that passed at the National Assembly include a bill to move airports from exclusive legislative list to concurrent legislative list.

At the Senate, the bill had 84 senators vote in favour of it and only two voted against it.

At the House of Representatives, 283 voted for it while 30 voted against.

Another bill passed is the bill to move fingerprints, identification and criminal records from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list.

While 86 senators voted for the bill, three voted against it. The legislation was also passed at the House.

Another bill to delete prisons in the Exclusive legislative list and re-designate it as Correctional Services in the Concurrent Legislative list received overwhelming votes from the lawmakers.

At the Senate, 86 lawmakers voted for it while two voted against. At the House, 280 members voted for the bill and 12 voted against.

The bill that seeks to move the Railway from the Exclusive Legislative List to Concurrent Legislative List also scaled through at the Senate.

A total of 90 lawmakers at the Senate voted in favour of the legislation; there was no opposition.

Their counterparts at the House voted in favour of the legislation as well.

The federal lawmakers also passed the bill that seeks to allow states to generate, transmit and distribute electricity in areas covered by the national grid.


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