House move to check MDAs over abuse of delegated legislation

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By Aaron Ossai

The House of Representatives is considering a Bill which seeks to check the abuse of delegated legislation by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Declaring open a public hearing on the statutory instrument (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill 2015, Courts and Tribunals Fines and Financial Penalties Bill 2016,” Speaker Yakubu Dogara, lamented that some government agencies have constituted themselves into law making bodies by abusing the powers of legislative delegation.

“The Statutory Instrument (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill, 2015 seeks to make it mandatory, for a Statutory Instrument made by a person under the power conferred by an act of the National assembly, to lay the instrument before both Houses of the National Assembly and after the passage, it shall be published in the Official Gazette or the National Assembly journal and to come into force at the expiration of twenty-one sitting days after being so laid, unless National Assembly, before expiration of the twenty one days invalidates the instrument by a simple resolution.

The Speaker stated that the objective of the bill is to check the excesses of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies from enacting and implementing legislations that may not conform to the intent and spirit of the legislative delegation.

“Therefore the bill seeks to always scrutinize all these subsidiary legislations to make sure that they are in line with the existing laws,” he added.

On the other hand, the Courts and Tribunals Fines and Financial Penalties Bill 2016, Dogara disclosed that it is aimed at creating a standard scale of fine for offences.

“The standard scale is a system whereby financial criminal penalties in legislation have maximum ceilings in levels set against a standard scale,” he added.

According to him, when inflation makes it necessary to alter the levels of the fines, the legislature needs to modify only the scale rather than every individual piece of legislation.

This process, the Speaker argued, will go a long way, in solving the problems of fines/penalties imposed on offences which are out of tune with the current realities.

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