ABUJA —THE senate on Tuesday passed a bill for the Establishment of the South East Development Commission that would be saddled with the responsibilities of managing and administering funds received from the federation account for the purpose of reinvigorating and harnessing the commercial potentials as well as the overall socio- economic development of the geo- political zone.
The commission will also act as a catalyst for the development of the commercial potentials of the South-East as well as tackle infrastructural deficit and engage youths in productive ventures in the region.
The Bill for an Act to establish the South East Development Commission and Other Matters, was read the first time on Wednesday, 22nd June, 2016 and scaled the second reading in the Senate, 7th June, 2017.
The Commission which shall have its head office in Enugu, Enugu State, would have offices in each state of the Commission which included Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States.
It would be recalled that the Bill for the establishment of a South East Development Commission and for other matters, was read the first time on Wednesday, 22nd June, 2016 and scaled the second reading in the Senate, 7th June, 2017.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East, co- sponsored by Stella Oduah, PDP, Anambra North and supported by other Senators from the South East zone.
The bill was however referred to the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Matters to report back to the upper chamber in four weeks.
The commission will also establish a developmental master plan that will give rise to massive infrastructural development, aimed at reconstructing and rehabilitating roads and bridges as well as addressing the devastating menace of erosion and other environmental and developmental challenges in the zone.
The commission will also help in the rehabilitation, reconstruction and reparation for Houses and Lost Businesses of Victims of the Civil War, as well as address any other Environmental or Developmental challenges.
S’East states to fund commission
The Senate agreed that the commission shall be funded from the one per cent of monies due to member states from the Ecological Fund.
Another fund of the commission would be from the Federal Government, the equivalent of 10 per cent of the total monthly statutory allocations due to the member states of the commission from the Federation Account; this being the contribution of the Federal Government to the commission.
It would be recalled that in his lead debate June 7, 2017 at plenary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu had said, “permit me to lead debate of this very important bill to establish the South East Development Commission, SEDC, to act as a catalyst for the development of the commercial potentials of the South-East.
“This Bill was read the First Time on the 22nd of June, 2016.
“The establishment of the commission will tackle infrastructural deficit and as well engage the youth in productive ventures in the region.
“Some of the functions highlighted for the commission include release of policies and guidelines for the development of the South East as well as the conception of plans to development in accordance with set rules, while also producing regulations, programmes and projects for sustainable development of the South East.
“The Commission is also expected to provide a master plan reduction of unemployment and schemes to promote the physical development of the South East. It will also provide road map for the development of roads, education, health facilities, industrialisation, agriculture, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and commerce in the area.
“The Commission will estimate the cost of implementing the master plan and schemes while implementing all the approved measures for development.
“Permit me to state here that the bill will not impose any financial burden on the Federal Government as its operations will be funded by 15 percent of Federal Allocation from member states.”
In his remarks then, Senate President Bukola Saraki had said that the unity and development of a nation goes sometimes beyond just a Bill, adding, “I want us all to see that we all have responsibilities to bring down the tension in this country and bring about unity.
“By this, we are showing as a Senate that we are ready to listen and look at the pros and cons. We need to unite this country. We must play our role. We only have one country.”