Bills To Address Poverty, Stop Intellectual Property Theft & More Scales Second Reading
In exercise of its mandate, the Senate, on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, considered two critical Bills seeking to tackle poverty and put a stop to intellectual property theft in the country.
One of the Bills sought to provide for the establishment of the National Poverty Alleviation Management Commission; while the other intended to re-enact the Patent and Design Act 2021 to revise the existing Intellectual Property Law to Prohibit Theft. Both Bills scaled through the second reading during the plenary session.
The Bill to establish the National Poverty Alleviation Management Commission Sought to empower the Commission to coordinate and regulate all forms of poverty alleviation funds. The Bill was sponsored by Sen. Kabir Abdullahi Barkiya (APC – Katsina Central).
Leading debate on the general principles of the Bill, Sen. Barkiya said the Bill when passed into law, will have a tremendous as well as vital impact in reducing poverty that is ravaging the majority of citizens in the country.
The lawmaker added that the proper and efficient management of poverty alleviation funds through sufficient regulation would drastically cut down the poverty rate in Nigeria.
He stressed that it is imperative to note, that the passage of this Bill will effectively and efficiently regulate all forms of funds provided to alleviate poverty in the land, especially in addressing the suffering of our citizens.
Sen. Barkiya disclosed that the aforementioned fund could be generated by the government, or international and local donations in order to minimise the high level of hardship that people go through within the country.
Contributing to the debate, Sen. Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP – Akwa-Ibom North West), described the Bill as “bi-partisan”. He lamented that resources allocated for poverty alleviation most times do not get to the poor as a result of mismanagement.
He observed that having a Commission in place as intended by the Bill would see to the realisation of the objectives of the Federal Government in the aspect of poverty reduction.
Lending his voice to the debate, Sen. Ibrahim Gobir (APC – Sokoto East) recalled that a similar Bill was passed into law by the eighth Senate but was declined presidential assent.
He, therefore, urged the President to sign the Bill into law when passed. He added that putting in place a management model to determine the level of the impact made through programmes targeted at poverty alleviation would, to a large extent, complement the Bill.
The Bill was scaled through Second Reading after its debate and referred to the Committee on Poverty Alleviation for further legislative inputs to report back in four weeks.
In a related development, the Bill seeking to review the nation’s intellectual property law scaled second reading in the Red Chamber.
The Bill titled, “Patent and Design Act 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2022, was sponsored by Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (APC – Ogun Central).
Leading the debate, the lawmaker said the bill seeks to protect intellectual property rights by setting up a framework for civil/judicial procedures. He added that upon passage and assent into law, the same would give Nigeria the opportunity as a member of the International Union for the Protection of Industrial Property, to secure maximum benefits from being part of the Patent Co-operation Treaty, 1970, to which it is a signatory.
The Bill at the conclusion of its debate scaled through Second Reading and referred to the Committee on Trade and Investment, to report back in four weeks.
Meanwhile, a third Bill seeking to amend the Federal High Court Act 2004, to increase the number of Judges of the Federal High Court from 100 to 172; and Repeal the Federal High Court (Amendment) Act 2013 was stood down.
The Bill was stood down due to the absence of its sponsor, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (APC – Delta Central), during the plenary.
However, a fourth Bill seeking to amend the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC) Act 2010, was also scaled through Second Reading.
The Bill which was sponsored by Sen. Sadiq Umar (APC – Kwara North), was referred to the Committee on Power to report back four weeks.
Dr. Ezrel Tabiowo, FAI, FIMC, CMC, FCP, Fsca
Special Assistant (Press)
To President of the Senate