Senate, on Thursday, took a great leap towards eradicating poverty in the country by passing through the Second Reading on its floor a Bill that seeks to establish a commission to that effect.
Entitled “A Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the National Poverty Eradication Commission and for other related matters connected therewith, 2016”, the Bill is sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Gobir.
The Bill, which was read for the first time on Thursday, October 8, 2015, received an overwhelming support from senators during its debate.
Leading the debates on the Bill, Gobir noted that various agencies that had been established in the past lacked the enabling laws for their operations.
He argued that the proposed Commission would be backed with relevant laws as a statutory body vested with responsibilities of coordinating and monitoring all poverty activities in Nigeria, unlike the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and similar agencies that were already established by the Federal Government.
He said that the intendment of the Bill is for the Commission to maintain a data bank on all poverty issues in the country and act as government agency for catalysing resources at all times for the purposes of eradicating poverty for mass participation in the economic development process.
He added that the Commission, when established, would be saddled with the responsibility of quarterly informing Nigerians of the percentage reduction in poverty.
The Commission would also be made of five directorates to be headed by a Director-General under the supervision of a chairman and six other members from each of the six geo-political zones in the country.
Virtually all the senators, who contributed, spoke in support of the bill to be read the second time.
In his remarks, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike EKweremadu, said the Bill was a welcome development as regards poverty eradication in the country because the gap between the rich and the poor in the country is unacceptable.
He particularly noted that the instrumentality of taxation needs to be used by taxing luxury goods and others for the Commission to well funded.
“What we have been seeing in the past, is giving mere handouts of N5,000 to N10,000 for people to sweep the street and other menial jobs but with the intended commission, Nigerians will be put in productive ventures that would definitely transform them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the 12-man committee set up on Wednesday by the Senate for addressing other contentious issues affecting it’s smooth running, had swung into action yesterday.
Inaugurating the Committee, the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, said the Committee, which has been given one time lag for completion of its assignment, is to resolve all the issues outside and within the Senate.
– Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja