A bill seeking to mandate workers in the banking, insurance and pension sector to declare their assets has passed for second reading in the House of Representatives.
The proposed law, titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Bank Employees, Etc., (Declaration of Assets) Act CAP. B1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to Reflect the Prevailing Situation in the Country,’ will also bar staff members of banks and other financial institutions from operating accounts outside the shores of Nigeria.
When the bill becomes law, their spouses and children may also be mandated to declare their assets.
Also, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation would also be relieved of the responsibility to keep records of declared assets by the Nigeria Customs Service and bank workers, and transfer it to the relevant regulator of each industry.
These proposals were made in the Bank Employees (Declaration of Assets)(Amendment) Bill 2021 by a lawmaker representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa Federal Constituency in Oyo State, Shina Peller.
While making his presentation, Peller recalled that the Bank Employees (Declaration of Assets) Act CAP B1 Laws of the Federation 2004 was approved on September 26, 1986, by the military regime.
He noted that the law was to make provisions for the declaration of assets by employees of banks operating in Nigeria and to empower the President to extend its application to other categories of persons.
The lawmaker said, “The Act applies to only employees of banks and customs service. However, the bill seeks to extend the application of the Act to employees of other financial institutions which have emerged as key players in the Nigerian financial sector over the years, i.e. pension funds agencies, insurance firms, stocks brokers, etc.
“In the Act, it is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that is given the responsibility of keeping completed forms of Assets Declaration by employees of banks and Customs service. Then, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation combines the functions of the present Head of Service of the Federation and Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“It is doubtful whether records of assets declaration were kept as prescribed by the Act. The amendment bill seeks to transfer this responsibility to the appropriate regulatory body of the financial institution to which the staff concerned belongs, i.e. Central Bank of Nigeria, for the bank employees; (National) Pension Commission for employees of Pension Fund Administrators; Security and Exchange Commission for stockbrokers, etc.”