Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, yesterday said that infrastructure reform bills currently in the National Assembly would create at least 580,000 new jobs for Nigerians in five years if successfully enacted.
The bills are the Nigerian Railway Bill, Nigerian Ports and Harbour Bill, National Road Funds Bill, National Transport Commission Bill, National Inland Waterways Bill and the Federal Roads Bill.
Saraki made this known at the dialogue session to mark the first anniversary of the National Assembly Business Environment Round table (NASSBER), where he expressed the commitment of the legislature to ensuring a friendly environment for businesses in Nigeria.
According to him the six bills draw from the experiences of other countries with similar demographics with Nigeria, and would lean heavily on enabling the participation of the private sector in the construction and maintenance of roads, railways and ports as well as their operations.
The Nigerian Railway bill, Nigerian Ports and Harbour bill and National Inland Waterways bill have already been passed by the Senate, while the remaining three are expected to be passed in June 2017.
“The net effect will be more investment in the country, reduced pressure on the forex market and public funds will be channeled towards more governance oriented public services,” he said.
The bills are also projected to cause a 2.5 per cent reduction in national poverty levels, as it will save lives, reduce wasted man-hours while reducing the cost of food and other essential goods and services as a result of cheaper logistical costs.
“The eighth National Assembly has also placed significant focus on helping our SMEs who employ over 88% of our workforce to expand their opportunity to raise funds for their businesses as well as reduce the regulatory burden our startups face today,” he said.
“In this regard, we have passed the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, Electronic Transactions Bill, Credit Reporting Bill, Independent Warehouse Regulatory Agency Bill and Secure Transactions in Movable Assets Bill.”
The Senate President said the bills, when signed into law, would revolutionise access to credit and reduce the barriers to commercial transactions across the broader spectrum of doing business in Nigeria.
“Studies have already shown that we should expect a 50 per cent increase in the capital availability to MSMEs as a direct result. We expect an average of about 1.57million additional jobs and MSME income growth by an average of five per cent per annum over five years,” he added.
Speaking further on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), Saraki noted that the bill makes a bold statement to the world that the Nigerian petroleum industry is now ready to compete with its counterparts across the world.
“It creates an entirely new regulatory and institutional regime for the oil and gas industry. The bill targets high levels of efficiency and independency that is at par with international best practices. With this bill, our revenues leakages will be a thing of the past and the confidence of investors in the industry will be further enhanced,” he emphasised.
Similarly, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara in his remarks expressed the commitment of the National Assembly to passing laws conducive to foreign and local investors.
“The National Assembly will continue to play a central role not only in governance but also ensuring that we deliberate and act on frameworks that will improve Nigeria’s business environment through the review of relevant legislations and provisions of the constitution,” he said.
He urged the members of the NASSBER Committees to provide the necessary guidance required to move the initiate forwards, and ensure it achieves it objectives.
“A little over a year ago when NASSBER was inaugurated, we were very confident it was the right step to take if we were indeed committed to bringing our economy out of recession, and stimulating long term economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable for the shared prosperity of all Nigerians,” Dogara said.