The Senate on Thursday, January 28, 2016 debated and passed two Motions during plenary. The first Motion considered and passed by the Upper Legislative Chamber was titled â€œUnwholesome Practices by Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria Limited, under the direction and control of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE)â€, sponsored by Sen. Mohammed Hassan (Yobe Central) and five others.
According to Sen. Hassan, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) is saddled with vital responsibility of providing critical power transmission services for the Power Industry and the entire nation. He added that the TCN is a company owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN). During the Power Sector Reforms, the BPE transferred the management of TCN to Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria Limited under a management services contract prepared by it.
Sen. Hassan noted that Manitoba is a company incorporated under and subject to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and carrying on business in the country with the FGN which paid millions of dollars of scarce public funds. He observed that, it is a criminal offence as stipulated in Section 20 (5) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act, 2007 for any person or body corporate to refuse the acceptance of the Naira as the legal tender currency for payments for goods and services in the country.
The Parliamentarian expressed worry that the TCN is imposed with burden, under the management services contract of paying all taxes for the management contractors, while Manitoba does not pay taxes on monies it is paid under the contract. Furthermore, Section 9 (2) of the Companies Income Tax Act (CITA) Cap 21 LFN, 2004, provides that tax shall be assessed and payable upon the profits of any company accruing in, derived from, bought into, or received in Nigeria for services rendered.
Accordingly, the Senate is convinced that the management services contract prepared by BPE for the management of TCN is fraught with apparent illegalities and total violation of laws of Nigeria. Also, these apparent illegalities would inevitably result in corruption, inefficiency, waste of public resources, lack of transparency and accountability in the management TCN; The Senate ultimately passed the Motion with three prayers below:
1) Mandate the Senate Committee to:
(a) Investigate the entire circumstances surrounding the preparation, execution and implementation of management services for TCN and all other related matters.
(b) Investigate the roles of all persons in these matter and where appropriate, determine the culpability of any person who whether by commission or omission has acted against the public.
(c) Ascertain the relevance of BPE on the Board of Directors of Distribution Companies in Nigeria.
2) Further mandate the Committee on Privatization to join the Committee on Power to make appropriate recommendations concerning its findings in its report to the Senate in four weeks. The Motion has been referred to the above Committees for further legislative inputs.
Similarly, the second Motion passed by the Red Chamber was on the â€œDemise of Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade 1â€, sponsored by Sen. Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi (Oyo South) and 16 others. Sen. Akanbi noted with sadness and great sense of loss the demise of Olubadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade at the age of 101.
Sen. Akanbi disclosed that the late Olubadan left a strong, stable, cohesive, united and prosperous Ibadan land which were the culmination of his selfless service and exemplary leadership qualities. His loss at this critical time in the life of the nation is no doubt a huge one, but he trust his legacies will continue to serve as reference point for peace and unity. The Motion scaled through with three prayers below:
1) Observe a minute silence in honour of the departed former Minister of Labour, the Olubadan of Ibadan Land.
2) Send delegation to condole with the family, people and government of Oyo State.
3) Cognizant of his contribution to the nation at large, urge the Federal Government to immortalize HRH Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade by naming a national or state monument after him as a mark of respect.
Meanwhile, the Senate has adjourned plenary session to the 16th of February, 2016 to allow Senators work on the 2016 Appropriation Bill and engage various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the defence of their budget.