. Passes Nigerian Airspace Management Agency Bill
The Senate, yesterday, passed two bills; one seeking to establish the National Rice Development Council, and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Bill, 2022.
The bills followed the consideration of the reports of the Committees on Agriculture and Rural Development, and Aviation respectively.
Specifically, when established, the Rice Council would save Nigeria about $2 billion on rice importation and improve the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Chairman of the Committee, Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), in his presentation, said the bill seeks to establish a Council that would lead to a comprehensive development of the rice sector and the organisation of rice stakeholders to enhance local production of rice in Nigeria.
He explained that the establishment of the Council would transform the activities of rice farmers, rice processors, millers, researchers, marketers and other important stakeholders across the entire rice value chain, particularly the clusters of smallholder rice farmers and small scale millers spread all over the country.
Adamu noted that through the Council, Nigeria can initiate a comprehensive national rice development roadmap for self-sufficiency in production, export purposes, employment generation and economic growth.
He said: “The Nigerian rice industry exists in the abstract as there appears to be no form of coordination in the absence of a properly structured rallying point.
“Today, we have Paddy Rice Dealers Association of Nigeria (PRIDAN), Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN), Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN), and many more.
“This Bill seeks to establish that rallying point and a comprehensive national operational and governance structure for a complete rice value chain process.”
He said further that the Bill will improve the government’s efforts for an efficient policy and regulatory framework for the Nigerian rice industry and promote enabling business and investment environments for all stakeholders.
It will also support the growth of the local rice industry and in the sub-region as well as promote the sustainability of foreign exchange earnings put at about $2 billion annually for rice related importation into the country.
Adamu continued: “The framework created by this Bill will pull investment into rice production, provide the missing link between rice production and industrialization, provide employment, reduce migration from rural to urban cities, and enhance socio-economic activities all over the country.
“Few countries having a Rice Council include Rice Council of Tanzania, USA Rice Council, Directorate of Rice Development (India), Rice Association of Thailand, among others.”
The framework created by this Bill will pull investment into rice production, provide the missing link between rice production and industrialization, provide employment, reduce migration from rural to urban cities, and enhance socio-economic activities all over the country.
In his presentation, the Chairman of the Aviation Committee, Sen. Smart Adeyemi (Kogi), said the bill sought to repeal the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency Act, 2010 for the purposes of providing effective air navigation services in Nigeria.
According to him, the NAMA Bill is one of the six Aviation Executive Bills referred to the Committee by the Senate, which are related to crucial matters of regulation, training, management, and safety of the Aviation Industry.
Adeyemi said: “The issues that surround the Bill are significant in ensuring safe air travels and are part of efforts at enhancing the health and profitability of the overarching aviation sector and public benefit.”
He observed that the Act establishing NAMA came into effect on May 26, 1999, and had been in operation for 22 years.
He said that the amendments to the NAMA Act 2010, are geared towards aligning the Agency with new operational requirements in the industry as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).