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National Assembly Still Grappling with Compelling Bills

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On September 29, the National Assembly resumed from its long recess. The recess had been taken despite its limited seating and sessions at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had kept several legislative initiatives in the limbo. Some of the most urgent legislative initiatives awaiting action include the Petroleum Industry Bill, 2020, the Electoral Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2020, the Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill, 2020 and the recently presented 2021 Appropriation Bill. These bills require compelling and urgent legislative action. The Petroleum Industry Bill has been a constant feature of legislative inaction since the 5th National Assembly. The imperativeness of its passage and its importance to Nigeria’s oil sector reform is critical. Yet, it remains unattended to. Another critical bill is the Electoral Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill that seeks to replace the 2010 Electoral Act with its several amendments. The challenges encountered in the 2019 general elections and the reports and proposals for change to the Electoral Act are important to be captured in a new law. Also, the argument for passage of a new electoral law well ahead of the next general elections makes it imperative for this bill to be a priority of the National assembly. The 2021 Appropriation Bill is also a key bill. Last year, the National Assembly succeeded for the first time in passing an Appropriation Bill before the commencement of the fiscal year of implementation. No doubt, the National Assembly will want to repeat this achievement