Types of Bills in Nigeria

There are two types of bills in Nigeria presented to the National Assembly for deliberation before being passed into law. These are the Appropriation Bill and Legislative Bill. As you read on, you’ll learn about the procedures associated with each type of bill. 

Types of Bills in Nigeria

The types of bills in Nigeria would be discussed below: 

  • Appropriation Bill

The Appropriation Bill, also known as the National Budget, is a legislative document that authorizes the expenditure of government funds. In Nigeria, just as in every other democratic nation, the Executive arm of government bears the responsibility for initiating a draft Appropriation Bill and preparing the accompanying Draft Estimates before it is sent to the Legislature to be deliberated upon. The Standing Committees of the National Assembly are responsible for deliberating on the proposed Appropriation Bill sent in by the Presidency. The Standing Committees are thus referred to as The Committee on Appropriation. These Standing Committees are normally established at the beginning of every National Assembly to perform oversight responsibilities over Ministries in Nigeria. 

After the proposals have undergone First and Second Readings on the Floor of the House of both the Senate and House of Representatives, each Standing Committee is given charge over the Head of Estimates of the Ministries for which they have oversight functions. During the Committee deliberations on Appropriation, these Standing Committees each transform into a Sub-Committee of the Appropriation Committee. Thereafter, a Member of the Appropriation Committee occupies an advisory role in each of the Sub-Committee proceedings and reports to the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee. 

After each Chairman of a Sub-Committee on Appropriation submits his Sub-Committee’s Report to the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, a day is set where the Sub-Committee Chairman is expected to present and defend the Report of the proceedings of the Sub-Committee before the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee. Following successful deliberation, a Clean Copy of the Sub-Committee’s Report is prepared to be presented on the Floor of the House. 

After a successful presentation of the proceedings of the Sub-Committee Report has been made before the House, a date will be formally set for consideration of the Report, and all members of the House would be duly alerted of the date. On a set day for consideration of the Report of the Sub-Committee, the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, assisted by the Chairman of the Sub-Committee, pilots the Report and moves resolutions on every item in the Report. Then, the members of the House form a committee to pass the resolutions on each item of the Head of Estimate. Every Sub-Committee’s Report passes through the consideration stage to pass resolutions on to their respective Head of Estimates. 

After the essential resolutions have been made on every Sub-Committee’s Head of Estimates, the Bill, containing an attachment of the summary of the amount of each resolved Head of Estimate is brought back into the house and goes to the Report Stage. Afterward, the Bill is reported to the House for adoption, leading to the Third Reading. Subsequently, it is passed as the Appropriation Bill and sent to the other House. 

Normally, both Houses, that is, the Senate and House of Representatives, often come up with different versions of the Appropriation Bill. To rectify the disparity, an equal number of Conferees from both Houses would go into a Conference to settle the differences. The Conference Report is finally adopted as the Appropriation Bill. The entire modifications made by the National Assembly will have been incorporated in the Draft Estimates and a clean copy produced as the Approved Estimates. The Clerk of the National Assembly will then send the Clean Bill alongside the Approved Estimates to the President for his Assent. The Bill when signed by the President becomes the Appropriation Act. 

  • Legislative Bill 

In Nigeria, a bill typically can only originate from three sources. These are the Executive arm (known as Executive Bill), House of Representatives ( known as House Bill), and Senate Bill. Once any of the legislative chambers receive a proposed bill, it is forwarded to appropriate quarters to be reviewed if such a bill meets all the required standards. For the House of Representatives, the relevant committee that reviews proposed bills is the Rules and Business Committee, while the Committee on the Rule and Procedure of the State is responsible for bills sent to the Senate. 

If the relevant committees of either of the chamber of legislation find the bill lacking, it is then forwarded to the Legal Department of the National Assembly for redrafting and additional amendments so it is in line with the requirements. The next stage of the process is the gazetting of the bill, that is, giving the public notice of a new piece of the legislature being considered so they can weigh in on the process. The next stage is the First Reading. 

The First Reading of the bill is tabled before the Speaker of the House of Representatives or Senate President depending on the chamber of the legislature, to inform the House that a particular bill has been introduced. The following stage of the legislative process is the Second Reading where the bill would be debated on the floor of the House. After deliberations have been made, the sponsor of the bill (or Senate President/Speaker in the case of Executive Bill) will move the motion that the bill is read the second time. If the bill is to proceed from this stage, it must have support (or seconded) by other members of the House. 

Next, the bill heads to the Committee Stage where all aspects of the bill in question would be thoroughly examined, and public hearings organized. Following successful completion of the Committee Stage, a Committee Report is produced, after which the bill proceeds to the Third Reading. After the completion of the Third Reading, a Clean Copy of the Bill incorporating all amendments is produced and signed by the Clerk with the endorsement of the Senate President or Speaker, depending on the legislative chamber. 

After the Clean Copy of the Bill has been signed and duly endorsed by either of the legislative chambers, it is then forwarded to the other House for Concurrence. Once there is a Concurrence of the bill in the Senate and House of Representatives, the Clerk of the National Assembly enrolls the bill to be signed by the President. If the President assents to the bill, it is passed into law. 

Bills made at the State Level also follow the same procedure as explained in this article. 

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