National council discusses the preliminary recommendations on Bills for 14th Session
The Chairperson officially announced the commencement date for the 14th session of the National Council as 12 November 2014 during the Council’s 18th plenary session which was conducted on 28thand 29th August. He said that the session will be very intensive and will require at least a month for deliberations on different Bills and Policy Issues. The session is expected to conclude before the National Day celebrations.
The 18th plenary meeting was conducted for two days to discuss various issues in preparation for the 14th session. Chairpersons of different committees made presentations on bills and policy issues which their committees were allocated during the 13th session. The Bills are: i) Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substance and Substance Abuse Bill, ii) Bio-Safety Bill, iii) Tenancy Bill, iv) Local Government Entitlement Bill and v) Parliamentary Entitlement Bill, which were all passed by the National Assembly last summer during their 3rd session. The Economic Affairs Committee, which was asked to review the Special Audit Report on National Debt proposed the conduct of thorough review of the Economy that also include review of the country’s debt issue.
The Chairpersons shared the extent and frequency of consultations held with different stakeholders. For example, the Natural Resources and Environment Committee has already conducted seven meetings with different stakeholders, and a few more are planned for the following month. The Chairpersons also highlighted critical issues in different Bills, amendments made by the National Assembly and position of NC Committees on these amendments. Members sought clarification and provided feedback on the presentations.
The NC Secretariat was asked to prepare legislative briefs on these Bills, based on the presentations, so that members can share them with the people during the constituency visits and seek feedback. During this plenary meeting, an Ad-hoc Committee was also constituted to review hydro power policies and its development issues, which will be deliberated either during the 15th or 16th session of the National Council.
The meeting identified issues for discussion for the next plenary which would be held towards the end of September. Meanwhile, committees would continue to hold further stakeholders consultation and report again to the plenary meeting the amendments made by NA that could be either accepted or rejected as well as additional amendments that NC may propose.