Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives has asserted that to achieve substantial results from the country’s agricultural diversification efforts, it is pivotal to enact new laws that will protect and drive modernised practices in the sector.
The speaker who spoke at a public hearing of the House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions in Abuja said the legal support in concert with other efforts would effectively grow the sector into the next major foreign exchange earner for the country.
The bills 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 consideration 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).
Dogara, 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.
He, however, 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.
Advocating the amendment of functions and mandate of existing agencies, he said the proliferation of agencies was not conducive to the economic well-being of the nation as a new agency comes with its complement of bureaucracy.
He said: “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 also stressed the need for updated 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.