Thursday, March 3, 2016

Senate Passes Motions on Patronizing Nigerian Goods & Non-Payment of Allowances to Nigerian Students Abroad

The Senate on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 debated and passed two Motions. The Motion passed were on the “Need for patronization of made in Nigeria Goods in Nigeria”, sponsored by Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South) and “Non-payment of Allowances to Nigerian students studying Abroad”, sponsored by Sen. David Umaru (Niger East) and seven others. Sen. Abaribe led the debate on the first Motion by recalling in the 1960s up to 1970s, when the Nigerian economy ran on ‘made in Nigeria’ exports.
He asserted that industries were located in rural areas and made in Nigeria products were popular with Nigerians and many African countries. Then, the Nigerian economy had a comfortable balance of deficit. The level of industries shutting down was less than 10 percent and the country was able to produce what it consumed. Now due to lack of patronage and very harsh business environment have forced over 80 percent to close shop. The Abia South distinguished Senator averred that today, Nigeria consumes what it does not produce. Investment in real sector has given way to trading in foreign and imported goods, and the resultant impact has been a negative balance of trade, the shutting down of textile companies, battery, tobacco, wood processing factories, cocoa, oil palm, rubber farms and others that had been bane of Nigerian economy. Sen. Abaribe recognized the need to sensitize Nigerians to consume made in Nigeria products; stated that government needs to put policies in place to aid and encourage local producers. Other Senators that spoke in support of the Motion include James Manager, Sam Egwu, Ben Murray Bruce, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Ibrahim Gobir and Dino Melaye. The Motion scaled through with two resolutions below: 1) Urge the Federal Government to initiate and implement the First Option Policy on the purchase of locally manufactured products for any government procurement in all arms of government and any public funded organization. 2) Urge the Senate and the House of Representatives to amend the Public Procurement Act to ensure that as a matter of law, Agencies of government and public funded institutions adopt the made in Nigeria goods First Option Policy and where consideration is given to the local industries before others. Similarly, debate on the second Motion was led by Sen. David Umaru who noted with dismay the non-payment of allowances to Nigerian students studying abroad based on Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) Scholarship Award Scheme in Russia and other forms of Scholarships in other parts of the World. The law-maker noted that despite repeated demands and appeals to the appropriate authorities, such as the Federal Ministry of Education, the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow, among others. None of these allowances have been paid to these students by the Federal Government. The Motion ultimately sailed through with three resolutions below. 1) Condemn the non-payment of allowances to Nigerian students studying abroad who are beneficiaries of the Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) Award Scheme and on the other forms of scholarship awards, granted by the Federal Government. 2) Urge the Federal Government to take immediate steps to ensure prompt payment of all outstanding allowances to the 375 students that are beneficiaries of the BEA Scholarship Award and over 400 other students who are being sponsored in other parts of the world by the Federal Government of Nigeria. 3) Mandate the Senate Committee on Education to meet with the Minister of Education and the Chairman of Federal Scholarship Board in order to proffer a lasting solution to the incidence of non-payment of scholarship to students studying abroad. Meanwhile, the Red Chamber has considered and adopted the recommendations of its Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND in respect of a Motion on the “New JAMB Policy on Admission” presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Binta Masi Garba. Among the recommendations adopted were the extension of JAMB Result Validity period from one year to three years. Also, the Upper Legislative Chamber has sworn in Sen. David Mark to represent Benue South Senatorial District having emerged winner of the recently conducted election into the Senatorial Zone.

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