After a 6 weeks break due to #COVID-19 pandemic House of Assembly in Delta State resume plenary on Thursday, 30th of April, and passed two bills which include Delta State Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Bill and the Delta State Public Procurement Bill 2020.
A letter was also received by the House from the state governor Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa which contained a bill for a law establishing the Delta State Internal Revenue Service and its Board.
Opening debate on the Delta State Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Bill during the second reading, the Majority Leader, Hon. Tim Owhefere said it would give room for the establishment of a separate department in the Ministry of Finance saddled with the responsibility of managing the debt portfolio of the state.
Arguing in support of the bill, the Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Pat Ajuduah, the deputy Chief Whip, Hon. Solomon Igrakpata, the member representing Ika North East Hon. Anthony Elekeokwuri and the member representing Aniocha North, Hon. Emeka Nwaobi all alluded to the fact that it is a step in the right direction.
They said the bill when signed into law would ensure that loans collected were used for the intended purposes, maintaining that the department would monitor the payback process of the loan to avoid a case of overpayment. The bill later scaled through the third reading and subsequently passed at plenary after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori who presided over the plenary.
Presenting the Delta State Procurement Bill 2020 for second reading, the lead sponsor of the bill, Hon. Anthony Elekeokwuri said when signed into law, it would promote accountability, transparency, and probity in the procurement process.
Other lawmakers who spoke in favour of the bill, including the Majority Leader, Hon. Tim Owhefere, and the member representing Ughelli North 1, Hon. Charles Oniyere said it would block every loophole in the public procurement process and assist the state government in the fight against corruption. The Speaker referred the bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts to make their input and directed them to report back to the House after a two hours recess.
On resumption of plenary at about 3:00 PM, the Majority Leader, Hon. Tim Owhefere moved a motion for the House to accept the report from the House Committee on Public Accounts and seconded by the member representing Isoko South Hon. Feguson Onwo. The bill was later passed by the House after the third reading.
The letter from the Governor, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on a bill for a law to establish the Delta State Internal Revenue Service and its Board was read by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori. Governor Okowa said the bill was informed on the need for government to further broaden its revenue drive across the state and deepen its source of revenue beyond oil. The House has adjourned sitting to Tuesday, May 5, 2020.