A bill to prohibit the executive and judiciary from legislating on matters of taxes and tariffs without passing through National Assembly passed second reading on Thursday in the House of Representatives.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Datti Garba (APC-Kaduna), seeks to address the unilateral increase in payment for tariffs and duties.
The bill is for an act to abrogate the legislative powers delegated to the executive, administrative, judicial and other offices, officers, agencies and authorities for the determination, imposition, increase, cancellation, withdrawal or reduction of taxes, duties, tariffs and fees.
It is also to prohibit the exercise of such powers without the approval of the National Assembly, pursuant to Section 59(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999; and for Other Related Matters; (HB. 508).
Leading the debate on the bill, Garba said it sought to retrieve the power of the National Assembly given to it by the Constitution.
According to Garba, the powers to control prices of essential services has been abused by the executive as demonstrated in the increase in the fees for driver’s licence, electricity tariff, water rate, fuel pump price, among others.
In his contribution, House Majority Leader, Rep. Leo Ogor (PDP-Delta), said that before tax was increased or decreased, it must be subjected to “legislative fireworks” in the National Assembly.
He, however, expressed regret that the executive had failed to do this over the years.
On his part, Rep. Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno), argued that under a democracy, the executive could not perform the function of the legislature.
He said: “we have no power to be donated to the Executive body to be performed on our behalf.’’
The bill was referred to the Committee on Justice after it was adopted through a voice vote by the members.