President Muhammadu Buhari has again declined assent to two more bills transmitted to him by the National Assembly.
This latest rejection brings to 40 the total number of bills Buhari had declined assent since the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly on June 9, 2015.
Buhari in two separate letters sent to Senate President Bukola Saraki and, read at plenary today explained reasons for his withdrawal of assent to the Nigeria Tourism Development Authority Bill and Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority Bill.
Explaining his reasons, 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 the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
He stated, “Section 30 of the bill proposing to levy a tourism fee on all in-bound international travellers, a tourism levy on all out-bound travellers and a tourism departure contribution fee of one percent per hotel room rate.
“Such flat fee has been fixed by the authority and a corporate tourism development levy of one percent 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 additional burden on the tourism business,” the letter reads.
The President also said he was rejecting the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority Bill based on the issue of funding and overlap of functions.
He stated: “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 subjected the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Environment and Nigeria Ports Authority to the supervision of the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority.
“The funding provision of the bill seeks to appropriate 25 per cent of the ports development levy annually and 15 percent of the ecological fund annually.
“Also, one percent of the funds will be accruable to the federal government for oil and gas within the cleared waterways and the right of way.
“And 2.5 percent 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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