Electoral act amendment, startup act — bills Buhari signed into law in 2022

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Arguably, 2022 was not an eventful year for the ninth national assembly led by Senate President Ahmad Lawan, largely due to the looming all-important 2023 elections.

The current national assembly has been heavily criticised for fulfilling almost every demand of the executive arm of government. On different occasions, Lawan had said the legislature and the executive arms of governments need to work “harmoniously” for the benefit of the country – a position that has been largely rebuffed by the opposition and many stakeholders.

And that has earned the ninth national assembly the moniker — “rubber stamp”.

Whatever the working relationship between these two arms of government, it has resulted in a number

Here are some of the bills passed by the national assembly and assented to by Buhari in 2022:

Electoral Act amendment Bill

In February, the president signed a bill that repealed the 2010 Electoral Act and replaced it with the 2022 Electoral Act.

The bill was finally signed after the national assembly reworked it and sent it back to Buhari. The president initially rejected the bill after the national assembly made direct primary compulsory for political parties in the country.

The law, it is hoped, will help to improve the conduct of elections in 2023.

Startup Act

In October, the president signed the Startup Bill 2022 into law. The law was initiated by the executive arm of government and sent to the national assembly to work on.

The law seeks to create and develop an enabling environment for technology-enabled startups in the country, as well as provide them access to special seed funds.

With the document, companies will be required to obtain a certificate known as the ‘startup label’ before they can be regarded as a startup entity.

Counselling Practitioners Council Act

In August, the president signed the Counselling Practitioners Council Bill into law.

The new council is saddled with the responsibility of advancing the study, training and practice of the counselling profession.

The new law spelt out the level of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to become

“The act also empowers the council to secure the professional status and do all such things as may be necessary to promote the interest of its members and the advancement of the art and science of counselling knowledge and efficiency in counselling management and administration in the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy,” Nasir Illa, senior special assistant to the president on national assembly matters, had said.

Anti-money laundering bills

In May, the president signed three bills into law to improve the country’s efforts in curbing money laundering.

The bills are the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022; the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022; and the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022.

At the signing ceremony, Buhari said the bills were in tandem with his administration’s commitment to fighting corruption and illicit financing activities, as well as critical to the governance agenda and the development of Nigeria.

“The new laws have provided enough punitive measures and containment strategies against abuses and compromises,” he had said.

National health insurance bill

In May, Buhari signed the National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2022 into law which repeals the National Health Insurance Scheme Act 2004.

The law is targeted at providing health coverage for 83 million poor Nigerians who cannot access premium services.

Under the new law, the health insurance authority and state governments will also develop information management systems and digital records for better data collection, monitoring, and quality assurance.

 

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