Muhammadu Buhari-1

President Muhammadu Buhari has once again declined assent to two more bills passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to him for his signature.

The latest casualties in the string of rejected bills are the Nigeria Tourism Development Authority Bill and the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority Bill.

The rejection of the two bills has brought to 40 the number of bills the President rejected for one reason or the other in the Eighth Senate.

Buhari conveyed his withdrawal of assent on the two bills vide two separate letters addressed to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and which the latter read at Wednesday’s plenary session.

On the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, the President said Section 14(d) and Section 30(2d) contradicted Section 4(1-3) and Paragraph 60(d) of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended).

Section 30 (2d) of the bill had proposed a tourism fee on all in-bound international travelers, a tourism levy on all out-bound travelers and a tourism departure contribution fee of one percent per hotel room rate.

The President’s letter stated inter alia, “Such flat fee has been fixed by the authority and a corporate tourism development levy of one percent to be charged on the revenue of banks, telecommunications and other corporate entities.

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“This will be inimical to the growth of the tourism and hospitality industry in Nigeria and constitute additional burden on the tourism business”.

On the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority Bill, the President cited issues of funding and overlap of functions for rejecting it.

His letter reads: “The comprehensive definition of the Nigeria Inland Waterways covers virtually all rivers, lakes and lagoons irrespective of the location of the body.

“The bill contradicts provisions of the constitution which limits the power of the National Assembly to make laws in relation to water from sources affecting more than one state of inland waterway which has been declared to be an international waterway or inter-state waterway.

“The bill, as currently drafted, subjects the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Environment and Nigeria Ports Authority to the supervision of the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority.

“The funding provision of the bill, which seeks to appropriate 25 percent of the ports development levy annually, 15 per cent of the ecological fund annually and one percent of the funds accruable to the federal government for oil and gas within the cleared waterways and the right of way; and 2.5 percent fees annually paid by companies operating power plants within waterways, are grossly excessive and will negatively affect the revenues of the federal government”.

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