The Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara has stressed the importance of enacting new legislation to aid the drive to modernise agriculture in the country as well as turn the sector into a major foreign exchange earner for the country in the nearest future.
He said this while delivering an address at a two-day public hearing organised by the House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions on Monday in Abuja.
Dogara also stressed the need to ensure bills processed by the legislature were cost-sensitive and did not increase the financial burden of the nation through the multiplication of agencies.
The proliferation of agencies, according to him, is not conducive to the economic well-being of the nation as a new agency “comes with its complement of bureaucracy.
Instead, he advocated for the amendment of the functions and mandate of existing agencies, where possible.
“Furthermore, in cases where there is need to reinvigorate a particular sector and lay emphasis it may become necessary to carve out an agency from an existing one.”
The Speaker stressed on the need for up-to-date legislation in order to further develop the agricultural sector.
“It is very gratifying to note that giant strides are being made in the sector. Up to date legislation is required to aid the drive to modernize agricultural practices, drive economic diversification, achieve food self-sufficiency, and ultimately turn agriculture into a major foreign exchange earner in the nearest future,” he said.
The bills being considered by the committee include a Bill for an Act to Regulate the Profession of Agriculture and to make provision for the Establishment, Functions and Administration of Nigerian Institute of Agriculturists and for Other Related Matters.
Also under cosiderarion is a Bill for Act to Repeal the Veterinary Surgeons Act. Cap. V3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and for Other Related Matters (HB. 836).
The Speaker, therefore, urged the committee to ensure the bills were in accordance with legal, regulatory and economic goals set out for the agricultural sector through appropriate scrutiny.