Another attempt to review the 1999 Constitution will be revved up at the National Assembly when lawmakers vote on 67 bills from Tuesday.
The joint constitution review committee has proposed 67 bills – each on all the items being proposed for amendment.
The “Report of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bills 2022” was laid by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Idris Wase, did the same at the Green Chambers.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives will vote to adopt or reject the 67 bills proposed by the Joint Committee in the Report.
For a proposal to scale through, it must be supported by two-thirds of members.
A key item to be voted on is the Value Added Tax (VAT), which is in contention between the federal and state governments over who should be collecting it and how it should be shared.
A Federal High court judge on August 10, 2021, endorsed the Rivers State government’s prayer to start collecting VAT within its jurisdiction.
The Court of Appeal said the status quo should be maintained.
The case is now before the Supreme Court. Lagos State and others have also joined.
The lawmakers will vote on the proposal to put VAT on the Exclusive List, which will take it within the purview of only the Federal Government.
Other major items are bills on devolution of powers, local governments, legislature, judicial reform, women and vulnerable groups, institution strengthening and good governance.
Others are political parties and electoral matters, Federal Capital Territory, fundamental human rights and national security.
Lawmakers will also vote indigeneship, another flashpoint in many parts of the country.
On devolution of powers, the lawmakers will vote on six bills, such as who should establish and manage airports.
This function is presently being undertaken by the Federal Government through agencies like the police, National Identify Management Commission (NIMC) and others.
Another issue is the setting up and management of Correctional Services, Railways and National Grid System (power).
Both the Correctional Service and railways are on the Exclusive List, but lawmakers will vote on allowing states to participate in these areas.
There have been arguments that states should be allowed to build and operate prisons.
Some states have set up power generating stations but have no legal backing to transmit them.
There are eight bills on local government administration and financial autonomy.
Although there is already a constitutional provision on local government autonomy, the reverse is the case in reality as state governors have vowed not to set LGAs free.
The Supreme Court recently struck down President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order 10 granting financial autonomy to state Houses of Assembly and state high courts.
They will also vote on eight bills which include financial autonomy for state legislatures and state judiciary, the procedure for overriding the President’s veto in constitution alteration, ordinary/menu bills, removal of presiding officers and pension for presiding officers of the legislature.https://thenationonlineng.net/lawmakers-to-vote-on-vat-power-devolution-others/