ASABA/Nigeria: The Delta State House of Assembly has passed two Bills to check the fiscal spending of the state and that of procurement process.The bills are the Delta State Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Bill and the Delta State Public Procurement Bill 2020.
The House at plenary on Thursday, April 30, 2020 also received a letter from the State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa which contained a bill for a law establishing the Delta State Internal Revenue Service and its Board.
Opening debate on the Delta State Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Bill during the second reading, the Majority Leader, Honourable Tim Owhefere said it would give room for the establishment of a separate department in the Ministry of Finance saddled with the responsibility of managing the debt portfolio of the state.
Arguing in support of the bill, the Chief Whip of the House, Honourable Pat Ajuduah, the deputy Chief Whip, Honourable Solomon Igrakpata, the member representing Ika North East Honourable Anthony Elekeokwuri and the member representing Aniocha North, Honourable Emeka Nwaobi all alluded to the fact that it is a step in the right direction.
They said the bill when signed into law would ensure that loans collected were used for the intended purposes, maintaining that the department would monitor the payback process of the loan to avoid a case of overpayment.
The bill later scaled through the third reading and subsequently passed at plenary after it was put to voice vote by the Speaker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori who presided over the plenary.
Presenting the Delta State Procurement bill 2020 for second reading, the lead sponsor of the bill, Honourable Anthony Elekeokwuri said when signed into law, it would promote accountability, transparency and probity in the procurement process.
Other lawmakers who spoke in favour of the bill, were the Majority Leader, Honourable Tim Owhefere, and the member representing Ughelli North 1, Honourable Charles Oniyere said it would block every loopholes in the public procurement process and assist the state government in the fight against corruption.
The Speaker referred the bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts to make their input and directed them to report back to the House after a two hours recess.
On resumption of plenary at about 3: 00 PM, the Majority Leader, Honourable Tim Owhefere moved a motion for the House to accept the report from the House Committee on Public Accounts and seconded by the member representing Isoko South Honourable Feguson Onwo.
The bill was later passed by the House after the third reading.
The letter from the Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa on a bill for a law to establish the Delta State Internal Revenue Service and its Board was read by the Speaker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori
Governor Okowa said the bill was informed on the need for government to further broaden its revenue drive across the state and deepen its source of revenue beyond oil.
The House has adjourned sitting to Tuesday, May 5, 2020.