By Abiemwense Moru
Abuja – The Bill for an Act to establish the National Security Trust Fund for security activities passed second reading at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 26-clause bill, which seeks to provide for the maintenance of a Trust Fund, will cater for the procurement of military infrastructure and technology for security agencies in the country.
Moving the motion, Rep. Rimamnde Kwewum (PDP-Taraba), explained that the model of the trust fund would centralise planning for proper coordination of resources and manpower.
Kwewum argued that the trust fund would ensure a predictable income base which would facilitate investment in Defence and Security Industry.
According to him, it will also ensure long term loans and facilities for potential investors and increase public-private partnership.
“The trust fund will also help in the reduction of the infrastructure and equipment deficiency in the security agencies and will create a globally based practice of both legislative and civilian oversight of the security sector.
“The existing legal order providing for security agencies in Nigeria include but not limited to the Police Act of 2004; the National Security Agencies Act of 2004; the Armed Forces Act of 2004 and the National Security and Civil Defence Corps Act of 2003.
“The bill x-rays further that its sources of funding will come from 5% of value added tax accruable to Consolidated Revenue Fund, 5% of the licence fees collected by the Nigeria Communication Commission ( NCC) and 5% of the 2.5% Operating Tax Telecom operators pay to NCC, among others,” he said.
Corroborating Kwewum’s remarks, Rep Adamu Kamale (APC-Adamawa) said the bill would go a long way in ameliorating the problem in the industry.
On his part, Rep Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta) faulted the bill, saying “the foundation of the bill is wrong”.
”Every decision of the bill is totally wrong. We must conceive a law that would be accepted to all Nigerians,” Ossai said.
Contributing, the Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said that the security agencies needed to be funded as they had no resources of their own.
He added that Lagos state has had a trust fund to fund its security operations.
The lawmaker maintained that it had been agreed that the budget for the security agencies should not be funded by the annual budget.
‘`We need to think outside the box,” he said.
The bill was unanimously adopted when the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, put it to a voice vote and referred it to the Committees on Defence and National Intelligence.