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House Begins Probe of Duplication of MDAs’ Duties, May Recommend Mergers

The House of Representatives has inaugurated an ad hoc Committee that would commence investigation into the duplication of functions by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government.

The lawmakers had in March, while adopting a motion sponsored by the Chief Whip, Hon. Tahir Monguno, resolved to look into the matter.

Monguno had while moving the motion said there were about 1,484 agencies, departments, boards, parastatal and corporations in the country, which gave rise to duplication of functions and clash of interests.

The Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who inaugurated the committee yesterday, stated that the aim was to reduce cost of governance, end bickering and prevent redundancy.

He explained that in the coming days members of the Committee would investigate the overlapping functions, and counter-productivity of established MDAs, and establish areas of mergers, synergies and justification of the existence of some of the established MDAs, boards, and corporations.

He urged the MDAs and other critical stakeholders to work with the Committee to complete its mandate in accordance with its terms of reference.

“Notably, the House of Representatives is not out to witch-hunt any individual or organisation, but we are propelled by our desire to ensure good governance and in the exercise of our legislative oversight powers as enshrined in Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“This Committee is expected to come up with solutions to the apparent continuous conflict of functions and avoidable bickering among established MDAs resulting in ineffectiveness, inefficiency and redundancy in the government workforce. The Committee is therefore expected to engage relevant stakeholders and members of the public with a view to resolving the areas of conflict among the MDA’s, which may require amending some laws and/or outright repeal, as the case may be,” Gbajabiamila said

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the ad hoc Committee, Hon. Victor Mela-Danzaria, said most of the laws establishing government agencies were made during the military regime and not in tandem with democracy.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday passed the bill for an act to establish the Entrepreneurship Bank of Nigeria.

The proposed legislation titled, “Bill for an Act to Establish Entrepreneurship Development Bank of Nigeria to charge it with the Responsibility, among other things, to provide Medium and Long Term Finance for Indigenous Small Businesses and to Provide for Establishment of Nigerian Entrepreneurship Development, Encourage Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Small Scale Enterprises in Nigeria,” was sponsored by the House Spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Kalu and Olalekan Afolabi.

Leading the debate on its general principles, Kalu said the bank when established would be charged it with the responsibility to among others, to provide medium and long-term finance for indigenous small businesses in Nigeria as may be determined by the board of the bank from time to time.

According to him, the bill which focuses on Nigerian youths intends to provide improved access to finance for entrepreneurs in innovation, manufacturing, agriculture and trade.

He said a fundamental challenge to youth entrepreneurship capacity was lack of access to functional and effective finance, hence existing financial institutions are not servicing the real needs of the indigenous business or initiatives owned and run by the youth.

Kalu said, “Even the African Development Bank has seen the need to have a specialised bank for the youths. According to THISDAY Newspaper of May 29, 2022, the President of the AfDB Group, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina at the conclusion of the 2022 Annual General Meeting of the African Development Bank in Accra Ghana, disclosed that the bank had embarked on the design of youth entrepreneurship investment banks in African countries, including Nigeria.

“A closer look at the operational modalities of the Bank of Industry (BOI), Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) would show that there is no clear-cut intention and support for indigenous small businesses owned and run by youth. Commercial and microfinance banks are not even feasible options for indigenous small businesses.

“This is the gap which the contemplated bank would fill. There is need for a specialised bank which would target the youth at different levels and scopes with emphasis on harnessing abundant potentials for economic growth and greatness of the nation.”

Thereafter, the bill was referred to the Committees on Finance and Industries.

However, some members of the House of Representatives yesterday faulted the lukewarm attitude to work by some of their colleagues who chair various standing committees.

At yesterday’s plenary, Hon. Jimoh Abdulraheem raised a point of order 18, rule 3, sub-section G, lamenting that till today nothing has been done about the motion he sponsored in 2019, which was referred to the Committee on Tourism.

He said, “I want to refer us to a motion that was sponsored by him dated 15, July 2019, in respect of Nigerian tourism development authority. I have written letter to chairman business and rules, Hon. Hassan Fulata on this issue and he has written letter to Chairman of the Committee on culture and tourism (Hon Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama) and up till now nothing has been done. “The motion was committed to the committee 7th November 2019 and up till now nothing has been done.”

Another lawmaker, Hon. Awaji-inombek Dagomie Abiante said some members of parliament never consider responsibilities as important as it should be.

Making reference to a Bill he sponsored two years, he lamented that he had tried to reach out to the Chairman National Security & Intelligence Committee, Hon. Ibrahim Sharada, but to no avail.

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