BY VICTOR GAI
The Taraba state House of Assembly has on Tuesday, considered the amendment of the 2012 Taraba state Fiscal Responsibility Law, which was assented to by former governor, Danbaba Suntai.
The consideration of the law was done in a public hearing held at the chambers of the House, with different stakeholders, ranging from ministries, departments and agencies, as well as civil society organisations and individuals in attendance.
Declaring the event open, the Speaker of the House, Abel Peter Diah, stated that the essence of the amendment was to meet up with the challenges of the day, while the Chairman, House committee on Justice, Judiciary and Cabinet Affairs, Bashir Mohammed, added that what was practicable in other states was not practicable in Taraba state hence the need for the amendment. During the session, certain grey areas were raised by stakeholders, especially that of prosecution in the event of the violations of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) Law.
One of the clauses, however, implies that such could be done by a representative of the Attorney General or a Legal Practitioner.
But some argued that allowing just any legal practitioner could usurp the powers of the AG in that respect. This grey area was also amplified by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Ministry of Justice.
But a member of the committee, Hosea Ibi, a legal practitioner, disagreed on the matter, saying such would not usurp the powers of the AG since the Attorney General gives the fiat for any prosecution.
The problem was however, laid to rest when it was agreed that any appointed legal practitioner by the FRC, must seek a fiat from the Attorney General (AG).
Another grey area was the likelihood of conflict between the state Auditor-General and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC).
The two offices have an almost similar duty of reporting the State’s financial transactions and some felt there could be duplication of duties or a clash of interest.
However, the committee disagreed and instead concluded that the two offices can work in synergy and as sister agencies towards the same purpose. At the end of the day, all parties were satisfied.
The Chairman of the committee on Justice, Judiciary and cabinet Affairs, Bashir Mohammed, himself a legal practitioner, in his closing remarks, appreciated all present for their contributions and called on the major stakeholders to find a way of liaising with his committee on the Bill towards the success of its passage.
Meanwhile, certain Bills were considered earlier in the week at plenary in the Taraba state House of Assembly.
They are: the Taraba state Waste Management Authority Bill 2016, sponsored by Abel Peter Diah, PDP, Mbamnga constituency; Charles Maijankai, PDP, Karim 1 constituency and Nura Dantsoho, APC, Jalingo 1 constituency of the House.
The Bill was considered for first reading and referred to the Rules and Business committee. Also, an Executive Bill passed second reading. It is the Taraba state Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency Bill 2016.
The Bill was welcome by most members of the House as well as the Speaker, Abel Peter Diah.
It was then referred to the House committee on Water Resources for further consideration.