A bill which seeks to ensure prompt remittance of revenue generated by Nigerian Postal Agency Service (NIPOST) into the Federation Account scaled through Second Reading on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
The lawmakers expressed support during the debate on ‘A bill for an Act to amend the Nigerian Postal Service Act, Cap. N127, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Provide for the payment of all monies received by the Service into the Federation Account in accordance with Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and for related matters,’ sponsored by Hon. Dachung Musa Bagos.
In his lead debate, Hon. Bagos explained that the bill seeks to amend the Nigerian Postal Service Act with the view to ensure prompt remittance of monies from the postal service to the Federation Account by ensuring strict adherence to relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and extant financial law.
He, however, noted that the provision of Section 52 of the Postal Service Act contradiction with the provision of Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in practice, hence the need to correct this anormally.
Speaking in support of the bill, Hon. Babangida Ibrahim stated that certain provisions in the Fiscal Responsibility Act allow certain agencies to keep a percentage of their internally generated revenue for administrative costs.
On his part, Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu stated that the Constitution allows such agencies like the postal service which are not merely revenue-generating, but also operational organisations to retain a percentage of their generated funds for their running expenditure.
In his intervention, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who presided over the plenary, who described the Bill as ‘very sensitive’, argued that it deals with the heart of the Constitution, hence urged members to be careful in expressing personal interpretations so as not to mislead the House, adding that the provisions of the Constitution should not be negotiable.
On his part, Hon. Ajibola Muraina said the funds are supposed to remit into the Federation Account as stipulated in section 162(10) of the 1999 Constitution.
While vetting her view, Deputy Majority Whip, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha called for the support of the Bill and when it gets to the Committee level, the necessary points can be fine-tuned.
The Speaker then stressed that if it stands, then the Fiscal Responsibility Act needs to be amended as well as relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
According to the Speaker, some agencies leverage on the percentage they retain to short change the country as they are not entitled to do so.
Sequel to the support enjoyed by the Bill through a voice vote, it was referred to the House Committee on Communications and Special Ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of the Nigerian Constitution.