​Operators urge caution in legislative oversight, investigative functions

Senate plans passage of host-community PIB on resumption
Members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have sought the understanding of the National Assembly in the execution of its oversight responsibilities to avoid erosion of investors’ confidence and collateral damage to the economy.
According to the operators, the frequency of summons of corporate organisations by the National Assembly (most of which are in Lagos and other locations outside Abuja) has significant financial implications to such firms. This is particularly so as statutory agencies of government are most often the custodians of some of the information that the private sector is often required to provide to support legislative investigations.
Some of those, who confided in The Guardian, complained of additional costs in terms of flights, hotel accommodation and loss of man-hours sitting for the legislative proceedings in Abuja, which are not budgeted for due to the impromptu nature of the summons.
The operators, therefore, urged the Senate to streamline the summons and public hearings to avoid duplications and overlap between the Senate and House of Representatives as well as vet the summons by its committees to ensure efficiency, cost-effectiveness and optimisation of time committed to the public hearings.
They added that matters that could be investigated by the statutory agencies of government, such as the judiciary, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the National Industrial Court (NIC) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), should be referred to such institutions to enable the National Assembly focus on its core duties of representation and lawmaking.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) yesterday advocated a legislative-private sector interface characterised by mutual respect, fairness and courtesy as against media trial based on allegations that have not been investigated.
In a statement, the LCCI noted that the powers of the Senate, as prescribed under Sections 88 and 89 of the Nigerian Constitution, should be exercised with greater discretion to avoid distraction to private sector players.
Specifically, the chamber stated that allegations and petitions received by the National Assembly about infractions by the private sector should be properly verified for credibility before presenting such to the media.
Meanwhile, the Senate has outlined the passage of the host-community component of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as part of its priorities when it resumes on September 19.
Also, the industry administration component of the PIB, which is now at the committee stage, shall be passed.Senate President Bukola Saraki disclosed this in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, which was endorsed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu.
Saraki said the passage of both the administrative and fiscal policy bills for the petroleum industry are part of the priorities for the Eighth Senate when it resumes from its yearly recess.

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