The Senate, yesterday, passed the re-drafted version of the much-anticipated Petroleum Industry Governance (PIG) Bill 2019.
The passage followed the recommendations of the technical committee set up to redraft the bill after President Muhammadu Buhari’s declined to sign the initial Bill into law.
In a communication to the Senate to that effect, Buhari had raised concerns over the implementation of the bill, if signed into law, and urged the National Assembly to consider the issues raised.
At plenary, Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, who reintroduced the re-drafted bill, noted that the technical committee of the Senate had reworked the affected clauses according to President Buhari’s observations.
The redrafted Bill was then considered by the Committee of the Whole and passed.
President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, directed the National Assembly secretariat to take note of observations and corrections made by lawmakers in the Bill.
At the plenary, the long-awaited draft of the National Tobacco Control Regulations was also passed.
The tobacco control bill, by its provisions, is to empower the Federal Ministry of Health to implement most provisions of the Tobacco Control Act which requires regulation.
Similarly, the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s (FCTA) bid to reintroduce the banned park-and-pay system by motorists in Abuja has finally received the backing of National Assembly.
The FCTA got the empowerment, yesterday, sequel to the passage of a bill for concurrence on the “FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Administration Service Bill, 2019” by the Senate and House of Representatives.
The Bill provides the legal force for the FCTA in collaboration with the territory’s Internal Revenue Service to embark on the overall enforcement of parking rules in the nation’s capital.
The Bill, when signed into law, before the expiration of the 8th Senate, will among others, review the parking fees and enforce the parking laws in the FCT.
The park-and-pay system became a controversial issue about five years ago before a court judgment stopped the FCTA from further collection of fees from residents for on and off the street parking within the territory.
The agency, according to the provisions of the bill, is to produce and administer vehicle and drivers’ licences in collaboration with relevant federal agencies.
The specific functions of the FCT Traffic Management Service as contained in the bill are, regulating road traffic management and motor vehicle administration within the FCT.
The agency would also regulate, register, revoke, license and renew motor vehicle documents and issuance of vehicle identification number plates in the FCT.
Similarly, it would conduct road worthiness test and issue road worthiness certificates to all categories of vehicles for the purposes of ridding the FCT of non-road worthy vehicles.
The agency would also be responsible for the training and testing of drivers to ensure competence for issuance of driver’s licence in the FCT.
It was also planned to regulate and enforce the use of bus stops and bus terminals, and the activities of the commercial motor vehicles as well as register and enforce and accredit driving schools and enforce the ban on the use of motorcycles as a means of public transport in the FCT.
The officers of the new agency, as contained in the bill, have been mandated to arrest and book any person who commits traffic offences like wrong overtaking, traffic light violation, and driving with expired documents or without driving licence.
They are also to arrest anyone that drives right-hand vehicles, drivers who exceed driving limit, drives against the traffic or obstructs traffic through illegal parking, among others.
Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, approved the establishment of Federal College of Education (Technical) in Aghoro, Bayelsa State.
The passage of the establishment bill followed the consideration of report of its Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, chaired by Senator Jibrin Barau at plenary.
Presenting the report, Jibrin recalled that the bill on establishment of the institution, sponsored by Senator Foster Ogola, PDP-Bayelsa West, was referred to his committee on May 30, 2018 for further legislative inputs.
According to the report, participants at a public hearing organised by the committee on March 14, this year, agreed that the college, when established, “will facilitate educational and technical development of the state, particularly in the development of middle level manpower for primary and secondary schools”.
The committee chairman also noted that “Bayelsa State does not have a Federal College of Education”, adding that its establishment would “address this challenge”.
“The establishment of the institution will assist in addressing the shortage of teachers in the country, reduce unemployment, improve the livelihood of the people and also play a vital role in human and economic development of the state.
“Also, Aghoro community is prepared to make available sufficient expanses of land to accommodate the proposed Federal College of Education, Aghoro”, Jibrin stated.
The committee, therefore, recommended the establishment of the institution by the Senate, saying this “will help in producing the desired manpower and expertise needed for the teaching profession”.
In his contribution, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, APC-Niger North, commended the committee for a job well done, and supported approval of the institution by the Senate in view of the importance of technical education in the country.
Unanimously, the lawmakers, in a voice vote, approved the establishment of the college.
Other institutions endorsed for establishment by the upper legislative chamber are the Federal University of Aquatic Studies, Ogbaru, Anambra State, Federal University, Uga, and School of Mines and Geological Studies, Guyuk, Adamawa State.
Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja