- Says New Laws Needed To Aid Drive To Modernise Agriculture, Diversify Economy
The Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has stressed the importance of enacting new legislation to aid the drive to modernise agriculture and turn the sector into a major foreign exchange earner for the country in the nearest future.
Speaker Dogara, who said this while delivering an address at the two-day public hearing organised by the House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions, also stressed the need to ensure bills processed by the legislature are cost-sensitive and do not increase the financial burden of the nation through the multiplication of agencies.
The proliferation of agencies, according to the Speaker, is not conducive to the economic well-being of the nation as a new agency “comes with its complement of bureaucracy entailing a Chief Executive, A Board of Directors, complement of staff, Many Directors to man different departments, office buildings, vehicles, overhead and capital costs and all the other paraphernalia of a government agency.”
Instead, he advocated for the amendment of the functions and mandate of existing agencies, where possible. Furthermore, “in cases where there is need to reinvigorate a particular sector and lay emphasis”, he said “it may become necessary to carve out an agency from an existing one.”
He spoke on the need for up to date legislation in order to further develop the agricultural sector.
“It is very gratifying to note that giant strides are being made in the sector”, he said. “Up to date legislation is required to aid the drive to modernize agricultural practices, drive economic diversification, achieve food self-sufficiency, and ultimately turn agriculture into a major foreign exchange earner in the nearest future” the Speaker concluded.
The bills being considered by the committee are as follows: A Bill for an Act to Regulate the Profession of Agriculture and to make provision for the Establishment, Functions and Administration of Nigerian Institute of Agriculturists and for Other Related Matters (HB.838)’, ‘A Bill for Act to Repeal the Veterinary Surgeons Act. Cap. V3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and for Other Related Matters (HB. 836)’, A Bill for Act to Amend the Nigerian Research Institutes Act Cap. N132, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Include the Establishment of the Shea Butter Research Institute: and for Other Related Matters. (HB. 1271).
The Speaker enjoined the committee to ensure the bills are in accordance with legal, regulatory and economic goals set out for the agricultural sector through appropriate scrutiny.