2014 NATIONAL CONFERENCE
JUNE 5, 2014
CONFERENCE RECOMMENDS SHUTDOWN OF GOVERNMENT IF BUDGET PASSAGE TIMELINES ARE NOT MET
The National Conference sitting in Abuja on Thursday resolved
that henceforth, where either the President or the National
Assembly fails to meet the timelines set for the passage of the
Appropriation Bill, government will have to shut down
Consequently, Conference agreed that Section 82 of the 1999
Constitution which deals with authorization of expenditure in
default of appropriation be amended to stop any expenditure by
government in the event of a delay in the passage of the budget
with established timelines.
This was one of
the decisions arrived at as delegates completed debate and
adoption of resolutions on the Report of the Committee on Public
Service headed by Engineer Ebele Okeke and Ambassador Adamu
Aliyu as deputy chairman.
Conference had earlier agreed that Appropriation Bill for the
coming year must be presented to the National Assembly on or
before September 30 of every year while the process of passage
by the National Assembly must be completed within two months for
Presidential assent in December.
Three amendments were suggested to include that Section 59 (3)
of the 1999 Constitution be amended to include that:
i. where the National Assembly fails to consider and pass the
Appropriation Bill within the stated time frame, the bill shall
be sent to Mr President for his/her assent.
ii. That failure to adhere to the time frame stated for the
presentation of the Appropriation Bill shall form part of the
definition of misconduct as stated in Sections 142 (11) and 188
iii. In the event that the budget is not approved by the 2nd of
January, Government should operate on the basis of 75% of
previous year’s Budget as an interim measure to avoid shut down.
All three suggestions were rejected as delegates insisted that
failure to meet the deadlines by either of the parties should
result in a shut-down of government, as no expenditure would be
allowed as contained in Section 82 of the 1999 Constitution.
This is to stem the current situation where both the Executive
and the Legislature do not seem to be bothered about delays in
budget presentation and approval. Giving conditions in a
situation of failure was viewed as indulgence.
Conference at plenary has also approved amendment to Section
147(3) of the 1999 Constitution which demands appointment by the
President of at least one minister from each state of the
Instead, it says the section should be reframed to indicate that
the President shall appoint not more than one minister from each
state of the federation; thus restricting the President from
appointing six more ministers from each of the six geo-political
zones as is the practice now.
The Conference however rejected a proposed amendment to the
effect that 40% of the ministers so appointed by the President
under the said section should be female.
Labour matters also received a boost on Thursday as delegates
voted overwhelmingly to retain labour and minimum wage issues in
the Exclusive as against an amendment that it should be moved to
the Concurrent Legislative List.
The Committee had recommended that since the minimum wage is
fixed at a level just above the poverty line, and it is the duty
of the Federal Government to ensure that the pay of every
Nigerian is above the poverty line, labour matters should
retained in the Exclusive Legislative.
However, an amendment that minimum wage be raised from N18, 000
to not less than N40, 000 for public servants was roundly
defeated by the delegates during consideration of
Conference also resolved that henceforth, no agency of
government should charge any fee, no matter how minimal, from
fresh graduates before offering them employment in the public
It was also decided that to avoid the recent tragic incident
where people died in the course of going to the stadium to
attend employment interviews, recruitment stations should be set
up at state levels for applicants.
A recommendation by the Committee that a new sub-section be
introduced in the 1999 Constitution that would compel government
to review public sector pay every five years to take cognizance
of trends in the cost of living was also approved by the
Conference and adopted.
Following a motion by 33 delegates moved by Alhaji Nurudeen Lemu,
Conference resolved that the Federal Character Commission be
renamed the Federal Character and Equal Opportunities Commission
to put it in better stead to address issues of affirmative
action for people living with disabilities.
The change is also expected to cater for issues regarding other
vulnerable groups including ethnic and religious minorities,
women, youth and other sectors of the society that are often
excluded. Conference agreed that the upgrading will foster
equity and create opportunities for the often excluded groups.
Meanwhile, the Committee on Science, Technology and Development
has said that for effective contribution and synergy in the
science and technology sector, and to ensure continuity and
seriousness of purpose, the Presidential Council on Science,
Technology and Innovation should be enshrined in the 1999
The report noted that in Nigeria, technological adaptation and
innovation through research and development have been thwarted
by very low and uncertain funding.
According to the Committee, traditionally, activities considered
non-essential normally suffer during budget allocation
exercises, particularly in lean times; it was its belief that
research and development budget have suffered more than others.
For instance, it stated that at its peak in 1982, capital budget
allocation to science and technology was N99 million; in 1983,
it was N68 million; in 1984, it was reduced to a mere N14
million while in 1985; it went down to a miserable N7.5 million.
It said the way forward was for Nigeria to strengthen the basic
science and technology infrastructure and modern research
facilities needed to execute projects that can lead to
The Committee said government should fund science and technology
development programmes up to 2% of the Federation Account while
state governments should contribute to research by way of
Government, it said, should make it mandatory for every industry
to establish research units, contribute money to the Science and
Technology Development Trust Fund, and give scholarships to
individuals and institutions to carry out research
It called on the Federal Government to declare a state of
emergency on the revitalization of vital infrastructure
considered critical and strategic to manufacturing sector.
These include power generation, transmission and distribution;
steel industries and machine tools; and national metallurgical
development centre; among others.
The Committee observed that Nigeria is yet to implement the
African Union resolution that a minimum of one per cent GDP of
nations should be dedicated to research and development
It called for increased campaign to create public awareness in
science and technology and their vital role in national
development through all possible means, including the media,
research and development.
The Committee, headed by Dr Daniel Maddo and Chief Raymond
Dokpesi as deputy, said recognizing the high volume of
applicable output of research and development activities in
Nigeria that have failed to address socio-economic development
issues, there must be a deliberate strategy to reverse the
It said the Nigerian Academy of Science and the Nigerian Academy
of Engineering, because of their linkages as professional bodies
should, through a deliberate policy be engaged in order to
enhance the impact of science and technology output on the
To ensure the rapid growth of science and technology, the
Committee recommended promotion of academic industry linkage
programmes to enhance knowledge sharing through mandatory
exposure of academics to industry in the design of programmes in
ASSISTANT SECRETARY, MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS
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