Nigeria News

Committee Work: Fiscal Federalism, State Creation to Top Agenda

As the 20 committees of the National Conference resume deliberations today, fiscal federalism, state creation, resource control and local government administration among others are expected to top their work plan.
The committees were slated to sit at the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. However a statement from the Chairman, Idris Kutigi, announced a change of venue at the weekend for some of the standing committees, as deliberations at the committee level begin today.
While committees One to 10 will hold their sessions at the NJI committees 11 to 20 hitherto scheduled to sit at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers will now hold their sessions at the NICON Luxury Hotel, near the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The change in venue for the second set of committees became necessary when it was obvious that the venue announced earlier will not be available for the number of days envisaged.
However, listed as part of the committees work are discussions on the immunity clause, minority rights and national security, as well as the grazing rights of herdsmen.
Of the 20 standing committees set up by the conference to discuss various issues, five are headed by two co-chairmen, while the remaining 15 are headed by a chairman each and a deputy chairman.
According to a document obtained by THISDAY, the Committee on Devolution of Power will focus on fiscal federalism, revenue sharing, resource control, the revenue sharing formula, and any other related matters.
The committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government will focus on federalism, regionalism, state creation, geo-political zones, forms and content of government, presidential, parliamentary, legislature, bicameral, unicameral legislature (part-time/full-time) and local government administration.
The committee on National Security will look at the armed forces with the following sub headings: civilian oversight of the security sector, review of the Armed Forces Act, the police, reform of the customs service, Road Safety Corps terrorism and counter-terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping, small arms proliferation, communal violence, election violence, illegal oil theft and smuggling. Others are sea piracy, organised/trans-national crime, money laundering, human trafficking, drug trafficking, terrorism financing, cyber crime, and other related matters.
The functions of the Committee on Environment Meteorology and Climate Change would cover illegal mining activities, pollution, gas flaring, protection of biodiversity, afforestation and reforestation, flooding/gully erosion, environmental degradation, oil spillage and desertification, drought, waste management/disposal, hazardous/toxic waste, bush burning, and natural disasters.
Committee on Politics and Governance will have as it scope of work the immunity clause, good governance and democratisation, deepening democracy, democratic culture and orientation, mechanisms for a more inclusive participatory democracy, national ethics, minority rights/ethnic nationalities, corruption, anti-corruption agencies, corruption and national development, constitutional amendment, freedom of information, and the role of traditional rulers.
The committee on Law, Judiciary, Human Rights, Legal Reform, Law and Order will cover the judiciary, review of judicial institutions, increase in the number of Supreme Court justices, increase in the number of divisions of the Court of Appeal, technology in administration of justice, professional development of judicial officers, Sharia and customary legal systems, delays in administration of justice and independence of the judiciary.
Others include funding of the judiciary, appointment of judicial officers, access to justice, alternative justice—ADR, mediation, conciliation, specialised courts/tribunals, condition of service of judicial officers; prison reforms; rehabilitation, reformations, reintegration, sentencing and death penalty, justiciability of the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy, and Chapter 2 of the constitution jurisdiction of the Industrial Court.
The Committee on Social Sector will deal with issues on health, universal health care coverage, primary healthcare, investment in health, emphasis on preventive health, education, restructuring of the curriculum, investment in education, and national education policy, return of missionary and private schools to original owners, nomadic education and institutionalising Almajiri education system.
They will also look at housing, affordable housing, social security, rights of senior citizens; unemployed Nigerians, pensions and gratuity, insurance, poverty and wealth creation, gender, status of married women, state of origin, state of marriage, affirmative action, political participation, discrimination, Child’s Rights Law, Child’s Right Law implementation bodies, and disability rights/ welfare.
Committee on Transportation will work on roads, railways, aviation, maritime, national inland waterways, shipping and shipment, while the Committee on Science, Technology and Development will focus attention on information, communication and technology, media/social network, science and technology education.
Others are investment in research and development, promotion and improvement of indigenous technological innovations, space and nuclear regime, capacity building and training for scientists, medical technology, biodiversity, and fabrication of buildings amongst others.
Committee on Agriculture will cover areas of food security, food storage, processing and packaging industries, grazing reverses/ranching and industrial cattle feeds, water resources, National Agricultural Policy, agricultural subsidy, mechanised agriculture, land acquisition, traditional institutions and agriculture, irrigation, bio-technology and agricultural production, poultry and fishery, and animal husbandry.
Committee on Civil Society, Labour and Sports Committee will deal with issues such as empowerment and regulation of civil society organisations (CSOs), capacity building for CSOs, youth empowerment, unemployment, minimum wage, trade unionism and industrial action, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), investments in sports, and Legal regime on sports.
Committee on Public Service will focus attention on federal character, civil service structure, remuneration of public officers and civil servants, state of the civil service, and salary structure.
Committee on Political Parties and Electoral Matters will deal with political parties and the electoral process, method of elections, party supremacy and internal democracy, independent candidature, regulation of campaign, campaign financing and expenditure ceiling, state monitoring bodies and local government elections, electoral offences, independence and autonomy of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), delineation of constituencies, conduct of free and fair elections, the role of security agencies in elections, diaspora voting, political recruitment and internal democracy in political parties.
Committee on Foreign Policy and Diaspora Matters has as its mandate, prisoner exchange, extradition, promotion of culture and tourism, investment in tourism, cultural exchange, Nigeria and international peacekeeping operations, review of the Technical Aid Corps programme, promotion of peace, human rights, justice and racial equality within the international system, and Nigeria-centric foreign policy, security and well-being of Nigerians at home and abroad, promoting Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) regime, non-alignment, economic diplomacy, domestication of treaties, mutual legal assistance, universal jurisdiction, role/participation in international organisations, Diaspora matters, role of foreign missions in Nigerian domestic affairs, and status of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Committee on Land Tenure Matters and National Boundary will work on the review of the Land Use Act, traditional land holding rights, establishment and manning of boundaries, and adjustment of boundaries.
Committee on Economy, Trade and Investment will work on industries and industrialisation, diversification of the economy, patents, copyright, trademarks, trade or business name, industrial designs and merchandise marks, bio-piracy and traditional knowledge, foreign direct investment, exclusive economic zones, export processing zones, oil and other mineral resources exploration and management, trade agreements, bilateral/multilateral, tourism and economic development and planning.
Committee on Energy will work on a strategic energy policy, oil and gas policy, solar energy, nuclear energy, wind energy, hydro energy, thermal energy and bio-energy.
However, the Committee on Religion will discuss state and religion, sponsorship and public funding of pilgrimage, and restoring national ethics, culture, morals and core values.
Committee on Public Finance and Revenue Generation will focus on domestic and external debt, tax administration and contribution, internally generated revenue, externally generated revenue, regulation of external borrowing by states and local governments, and productivity
The Committee on Citizenship, Immigration and Related Matters will discuss issues on the movement of goods, persons and services, citizenship and nationality, integrated national database, immigration and internal security, multiple citizenship of Nigerians, residency, indigeneship and residency (indigenes-settlers dichotomy), refugee and asylum, census and border patrol.
The work plan also indicated that the conference would receive reports from committees and commence deliberations on May 5 and 6 before breaking into plenary again for participation in the World Economic Forum, which holds in Abuja.
Deliberation on the various committees’ reports would resume on May 12 and last till 15 when deliberations would be completed. 
Between May 19 to 29, the conference secretariat, working with the Report Drafting Committee, will put the report together and present such to the conference in plenary. Consideration and adoption of the draft reports by the conference in plenary will start on June 2 and end on 12, after which the final report would be produced and signed between June 16 and 19.
While apologising to the delegates for the sudden change in venue, Kutigi said coffee and lunch breaks would be observed at the respective venues that the committees would sit. Delegates were enjoined to go straight to their respective venues as they resume from the Easter break.

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