N/Assembly Asks Buhari To Explain Plan To Fight Recession | Independent Newspapers Limited
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N/Assembly Asks Buhari To Explain Plan To Fight Recession

Posted: Oct 7, 2016 at 4:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Rotimi Akinwumi

Abuja – The National Assembly on Thursday resolved to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to brief it on plans being made by the executive to get the country out of the current economic recession.

The resolution was taken when the Senate concurred to the earlier motion passed by the House of Representatives on September 22.

President Buhari as stated in the resolution would address a joint session of the National Assembly to intimate it on plans to get the country out of the recession to enable the National Assembly take further legislative actions in that respect.

It would be recalled that the Senate last month exhaustively debated issues surrounding the recession and proffered 21-point recommendations to the executive for implementation.

One of the resolutions of the Senate then was the call on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency prepare an economic stimulus bill containing all the fiscal stimulus packages, investments, and incentives designed to pull the country out of recession to the National Assembly for accelerated consideration and passage.

It also urged the executive in the recommendation to ensure constant meeting of fiscal and monetary authorities for harmonisation of all policies, particularly lower interest rates for genuine investors in the real sector as well as medium and small scale farmers and processors. It also urged the Federal Government to engage in meaningful and inclusive dialogue with the aggrieved Niger Delta militants to avoid escalation of the unrest in the region and ensure protection of Nigeria’s oil and gas assets to facilitate increase in oil production and boost revenue there from.

The upper chamber in the recommendation also called on the president to as a matter of urgency appoint a senior special assistant, who should lead a team that coordinates the government’s engagement with all stakeholders in the region, specifying that the team should include senators from the zone.

Amendment of section 162 of the 1999 constitution to pave way for the Federal Government to save money for the country ahead of the rainy days was also part of the recommendations forwarded to the president for implementation.

At the two-day exhaustive debate to proffer solutions to the present harsh economic realities confronting the country, the Senate had urged the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to harmonise the Federal Government’s financial and monetary policies as one of the ways to end the current economic recession.

The upper legislative chamber also enjoined the executive to urgently negotiate external concessionary borrowing to finance aspects of deficit in the 2016 Appropriation Act.

According to the Senate plan which will be officially transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari by Senate President Bukola Saraki and other leaders of the federal legislature any time soon, “the fiscal and monetary authorities must harmonise all policies that lower interest rates for investors in the real sector and small/medium scale farmers.

“The Federal Government should negotiate foreign concessionary borrowing agreements to cover shortfalls in the 2016 budget and the government’s accelerated infrastructural development programme.”

Other measures that can help reflate the economy if immediately implemented by the Federal Government, according to the Senate, include the payment of genuine domestic debts owed local contractors, settlement of salary arrears and pension obligations.

It also urged the Federal Government to utilise pension and insurance funds to finance long term capital lending for agriculture, industry and housing projects as a way of putting money in the pockets of Nigerians.

The lawmakers further urged the executive to urgently reconstitute the board of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and all other critical agencies in order to ensure that they operate in accordance to their enabling laws.

It would be recalled also that the lower legislative chamber had passed a resolution on September 22, 2016, inviting the president to address a joint session of the National Assembly on plans to get Nigeria out of the economic crisis.