8th Assembly introduced 2,166 bills, only 515 were passed—Report
FOR four years, between 2015 and 2019, the 8th National Assembly introduced a total of 2,166 bills but only 515 of the bills were passed into law, a new report launched on Friday has revealed.
Scorecard of the 8th National Assembly — Report of a performance assessment of the 8th National Assembly in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic released by YIAGA Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement, revealed that there was a significant increase in the number of bills handled by the 8th National Assembly.
It noted that 21 of the 515 passed bills were Constitution Alteration bills while five of them received presidential assent.
“The Senate passed a total of 172 bills while the House of Representatives passed 343 bills within the same period. Some of these bills could be regarded as a landmark or significant for the widespread interest they generated, high media attention, pertinent issues they addressed and overall high perception of their potential impacts,” said the report.
The report was the product of a study to assess the legislature as a cardinal institution of democracy with regards to its responsibilities for legislation, oversight and representation.
It indicated that bills such as the North East Development Commission Bill and Not Too Young to Run Bill, among others were among those that were passed by the 8th Assembly.
It, however, noted that 53 bills were declined Presidential assent and only about 80 (15.5%) received assent adding that several Bills were still awaiting assent at the time of study.
However, the report said data on the number of bills transmitted to the president for assent were not available.
Over the same period, 15 bills were withdrawn while 33 were ‘negatived’- killed.
In total, the efficiency percentage of the Assembly was 23.8 per cent, representing the proportion of all bills introduced that were successfully passed by the 8th National Assembly.
According to the report, the 8th Assembly fared better compared to the 7th National Assembly, which passed a total of 205 Bills out of a total of 1367 introduced.
The report also revealed a high level of increase in the number of private members bill, which accounted for 95.8 per cent of all Bills introduced during the 8th National Assembly.
The House of Representatives, it said, accounted for 65 per cent of this category of Bills, which it said was due to its numerical strength over the Senate.
YIAGA’s report stressed that two decades of unbroken democratic governance and attendant accumulation of institutional memory may have tremendously enhanced the law-making capacity of legislators in terms of expertise.
It, however, disclosed that some of these bills generally classified as Private Member bills, though sponsored by legislators, were actually initiated by professional associations and civil society organisations, including the Not Too Young To Run bill.
“This not only shows that civil society organisations have a significant impact on law-making efficiency in the 8th National Assembly but also underscores its positive disposition to participatory law making.”
In terms of the gestation period, the report revealed that some of these bills took long to be passed.
“Ideally, a bill should, averagely, take less than six months to pass. But out of the 515 bills passed in the 8th National Assembly, only 47 (9.1 per cent) were passed within fifty days, while a whopping 271 (52.6 per cent) took over 351 days.
“Furthermore, 14 bills were passed within 100 days, 12 within 150 days, 80 within 200 days, 41 within 250 days, 23 within 300 days and 27 within 350 days. Notably, most of the bills passed within 50 days were either executive bills or, of emergency nature.”