The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to develop an action plan to avert shortage of food and other agricultural products in the country. The call came following a motion of urgent public importance moved by Hon. Dam Arame during plenary session on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 where he implored the chamber to investigate the activities of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture geared towards excessive production and export of grains to the detriment of the country's local consumption. He added that the onus is on the legislature to ensure that necessary government initiates are action plans that would guarantee self-sufficiency.
Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai lent his voice in support of the motion, noting that just recently the Honorable Minister of State on Agriculture had predicted shortage of food grains in the early quarters of the 2017. He argued that the untold hardship and hunger already being suffered by the ordinary Nigerians due to economic recession should not be further compounded. The Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor cautioned against any policy or action which would not ameliorate the sufferings of the people. He averred that the purported prediction of food drought early next year must not become a reality, particularly now that the nation's economy is sitting in limbo.
In the same vein, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Lassun Yusuf charged that farmers should be empowered and incentivized to encourage massive production of grains. He added that government should intervene to ensure that farmers do not smuggle these grains, but to rather do genuine export business.
In a related development, Hon. Ade Ogun raised another motion on the need to avert an eminent power failure across the country. He informed that there is a threat of complete blackout which definitely would affect various agencies. The lawmaker attributed this to the reported shortage of gas and inability of institutions to pay for gas consumption alongside vandalism of facilities in the power sector. He urged the House to engage stakeholders on this matter through its Committee on Power with a view to tackling the nagging issues capable of shutting down productive operations.
He stated that debts owed to Gas producing companies is up to the tune of N200million, and that if nothing is done urgently to sustain continuous supply of Gas to relevant agencies, it may spell doom for the nation. He therefore urged the House to interfere on the matter and avert the threat of blackout in the country.
In another development, the House read a couple of Bills the third time and subsequently passed them. Among the Bills that were read for the third time were a Bill for an Act to Authorize the Issue from Statutory Fund of the Nigerian Communications Commission the total sum of N70,672,492,000.00 alongside its breakdown expenditure plan, for the year ending on 31 December, 2016 (HB. 740).
And a Bill seeking to establish the National Postgraduate College of Medical Laboratory Science and Other connected matters therewith.
Also, A Bill, which seek to provide for Domestication and Enforcement in Nigeria of the avoidance of double taxation agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Kingdom of Spain.
In a similar note, the House debated the General Principles of a Bill which seeks to amend the Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Development Agency Act, 2004, to expressly provide the Agency with powers to protect Artisans, Market women and Traders as well as organize them into clusters for optimum benefits.
Hon. Ossai Nicholas who led debate of the Bill said the Bill seeks to revolutionize small scale enterprises in Nigeria. He stated that countries like China, India and indeed other developing economies are driven by these small scale industries. He added that the legislation be passed to allow for healthy and accelerated growth of the economy. The Bill was read the second time and it enjoyed favorable support of the Members in Session.