Buhari Rejects Ajaokuta Completion Bill, National Housing Fund, Others


President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday declined assent to
a bill seeking to fund the completion of Ajaokuta Steel
Company, which was forwarded to him by the National
Assembly in February this year.
The President equally declined assent to seven other bills,
including the controversial National Housing Fund Bill, which
was passed recently by the federal parliament.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, disclosed this
while reading at plenary separate letters by the President
informing the Senate of his decisions.
Buhari, according to the letters, cited several grounds, ranging
from infractions on extant laws, duplication of responsibilities
of existing agencies, to financial constraints for refusing
assent to the bills.
Giving reasons for rejecting the Ajaokuta Completion Fund
Bill, the President said voting $1bn to the steel rolling mill
from the Excess Crude Account, as proposed by the bill, was
not the best strategic option for Nigeria at this time of
budgetary constraints.
“The nation cannot afford to commit such an amount in the
midst of competing priorities with long-term social and
economic impact that the funds can be alternatively deployed
“Bills, which seek to make appropriation of revenues to fund
public expenditure should be consolidated in the annual
Appropriation Act, such that the proposals pass through the
traditional scrutiny that budget proposals are subjected to by
the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Budget and National
Planning and the National Assembly.
“Furthermore, as the Excess Crude Account Funds belong to
the federation, it would be proper to consult with the National
Economic Council where the states are represented.
“Relevant stakeholders, such as the Ministries of Mines and
Steel Development, Industry, Trade and Investment, were not
fully consulted.
“The inputs of key stakeholders are necessary to create the
optimal legal and regulatory framework, as well as institutional
mechanism to adequately regulate the steel sector,” the
President said.
In another letter of refusal of assent dated March 27, 2019,
President Buhari cited provisions contained in Section 32 of
the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency Bill
2018 as the major reason for refusing assent to it.
He added that if signed into law, the agency would have
similar objectives as that of the Bank of Industry, particularly
with regard to the funding of Small and Medium Enterprises.
“Accordingly, it is important to streamline its functions to
avoid a duplication or overlap of functions with other
government institutions performing similar functions aside the
likelihood of increasing public recurrent expenditure by the
proposed creation of new public sector bodies,” he added.
Other bills rejected by the President included the Nigerian
Aeronautical Search and Rescue Bill 2018; the Chartered
Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria
(Establishment) Bill 2018; and the Federal Mortgage Bank of
Nigeria Bill 2018.
He also declined assent to the National Housing Fund Bill
2018; the National Institute of Credit Administration Bill 2018;
and the National Bio-technology Development Agency Bill


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