Yes to LG, State Assembly, Judicial Autonomies, independent candidacy and much more
NASS, the National Assembly, rejects proposal for Diaspora voting in Nigeria’s national elections as well as VAT on Exclusive List.
Senators voted 62-29 against the proposed constitutional amendment,
Similarly, the House of Representatives further sealed the fate of the bill by voting 240-58 against the proposal.
The denial by both Houses is a hot slap on the face for a powerful economic army. Diaspora Nigerians remit over $20.0 billion dollars to their hard-pressed relations in Nigerian each year.
Incidentally, only one Senator abstained from the vote, indicating the passion with which the lawmakers debated the subject.
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The vote however comes as an anticlimax to other landmark constitutional amendments that the Senate and the House voted to pass.
The two houses are considering 68 amendments in total. Among the landmark bills passed by the Senate are to:
- abrogate State Joint Local Government Account and provide for special account to pay local government allocations (Yes 92-2 No). This will put paid to Governors tampering with local government funds as is currently the practice.
- establish local government councils as tiers of government and guarantee their democratic existence and tenure (Yes 88 – 4 No). This effectively removes the local government system from meddlesome governors.
- Provide financial independence of state houses of assembly and state judiciary (Yes 83-1 No)
- Move fingerprints, identification and criminal records from Exclusive to Concurrent Legislative List (Yes 86-3 No)
- Delete prisons in the Exclusive and Redesignate it as Correctional Services in the Concurrent Legislative List (Yes 86-2 No)
- Expand the scope of citizenship by registration (Yes 83-2 No)
- Move Airports from the Exclusive to the Concurrent Legislative List (Yes 84-2 No)
- Provide criteria to become an indigene of a State in Nigeria (Yes 90-5 No)
- Also provide for independent candidacy in Presidential, governorship, National Assembly, State Houses of Assembly and Local Government Councils elections (Yes 89-5 No)
Plan to make VAT exclusive collapses
The House of Representatives also followed the lead of the Senate in passing most of the amendments. On the issue of Value Added Tax, the effort to move it to the Exclusive list collapsed.
VAT is currently a subject of litigation between the States and Federal Government.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service hitherto collects VAT on behalf of the federal government for sharing to the three tiers of government.
NASS rejects Diaspora voting