Buhari Rejects NTDC, NIWA Bills

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Senator Bukola Saraki
Senate President, Bukola Saraki

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has conveyed to the Senate his decision to withhold assent to the Nigeria Tourism Development Authority (NTDA) and Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Bill.

In a letter read by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at plenary on Wednesday, the President gave reasons for withholding assent to the bills.

The rejection of the NTDC and NIWA bills brings to over 30, the number of bills rejected by Mr Buhari since the inauguration of the 8th Senate.

Buhari said section 14(d), section 30(2d) of the Nigeria Tourism Development Authority (Repeal and re-enactment) bill contradicts section 4 (1-3) and paragraph 60 (d) of the second schedule of Nigeria’s Constitution.

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“Section 30 of the bill proposing to levy a tourism fee on all inbound international travellers, a tourism levy on all outbound travellers and a tourism departure contribution fee of 1 per cent per hotel room rate.

“Such flat fee has been fixed by the authority and a corporate tourism development levy of 1 per cent to be charged on the revenue of banks, telecommunications and other corporate entities. This will be inimical to the growth of the tourism and hospitality industry in Nigeria and constitute an additional burden on the tourism business,” the letter reads.

His reasons for rejecting the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority Bill borders on funding and overlap of functions.

The 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 waterways which has been declared to be an international waterway or inter-state waterway.

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

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“The funding provision of the bill which seeks to appropriate 25 per cent of the ports development levy annually, 15 per cent of the ecological fund annually and 1 per cent of the funds accruable to the federal government for oil and gas within the cleared waterways and the right of way and 2.5 per cent 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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