Private sector shuns Reps hearing on Buhari’s aviation bills [updated]

Relevant stakeholders especially in the private sector were conspicuously absent from a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives on six executive bills on the aviation sector on Tuesday.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, while declaring the hearing open, asked for identification of representatives of the private sector at the event.

Gbajabiamila said, “The whole idea of public hearing is for people, interested parties to be present; to contribute whatever observations they have.

“At the end of the public hearing, the stakeholders from the private sector that didn’t show up for the public hearing, when the bill is about to be passed or when it is passed; then, they will begin to complain.

“As you can see now, not a single person from the private sector is here. There is the need for the private sector to be at public hearings. When a bill is passed, it may be too late to do anything.”

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, also expressed surprise over the non-appearance of the private sector.

Sirika said, “The private sector that was a couple of weeks ago in the Senate for this same exercise are completely absent at today’s hearing at the House of Representatives. I am very curious to know why they are not here.”

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had transmitted a letter to both the Senate and the House, seeking consideration and passage of six aviation sector bills.

The bills include Civil Aviation Bill 2019, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Bill 2019, Nigerian College of Air Space Management Agency Establishment Bill 2019.

Others are Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Establishment Bill 2019, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Establishment Bill 2019 and the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau Establishment Bill 2019.

The Nigeria Labour Congress at the hearing warned against introduction of obnoxious clauses to the bills, which it said were inconsistent with the general practice of lawmaking.

The union alleged that there was an attempt to smuggle provisions from the labour laws into the proposed amendments.

President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, presented the position of the Organised Labour.

Wabba stated that the labour was against provisions that would allow the appointment of an interim board for aviation agencies, to be headed by either the minister, the permanent secretary or the head of the agencies.

Chairman of the committee, Mr Nnolim Nnaji, said the need for the enabling Acts to be repealed and reenacted was glaring.

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