The Senate, at the conclusion of its debate on the state of the economy on Thursday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse some of his policies that contributed to the current recession in the country.
Majority of the Senators, who suggested options available the Executive arm of government to salvage the economy, observed that some of the policies of President Buhari were hurting the economy.
They particularly urged the President to revisit the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy, where most of the country’s revenues are lodged, lamenting that it made it impossible for money to circulate and for investors to access funds.
More Senators joined the opposition to the proposal by the Federal Government by the Senate President Bukola Saraki, that some of the national assets should be sold to generate funds to reflate the economy and boost foreign reserves.
Senator Ben Murray-Bruce said that Buhari’s anti-corruption policy was harsh and crumbling the economy by threatening Nigerians and creating fears in potential investors.
The Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Na’Allah, said that Buhari had good intentions in the implementation of the TSA policy but regretted that it was done without providing an alternative policy to redistribute money into the system, resulting in unemployment and hunger in the country.
Senator Sonni Ogbuoji said that the economic recession was a blessing in disguise for the country because it had propelled the government and Nigerians to start thinking on how to do things differently.
On the monetary policy of this administration, he said that the Naira should be allowed to float to make it impossible for people to get waivers to buy a dollar at N197.
The Senate Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeye, insisted that one pragmatic means of addressing the current problem was to cut the cost of governance and reduce the estacodes for public office holders.
Senators Andy Uba and Ovie Omo-Agege, in their separate contributions, opposed the sale of some national assets, stressing that it was not the solution to the problem.
Senators Jonah Jang, Clifford Ordia and Barau Jibrin stressed the need for President Buhari to release the money in the TSA into the economy.
Senator Ahmad Lawan urged the Federal Government to emulate the former President of the United States, who approached the US Congress to pass the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 to tackle the country’s recession.
Senator Solomon Adeola observed with disappointment that the economic team was speaking from divergent positions, citing the disagreement between the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on the interest rate and other fiscal/monetary policies.
At the end of the debate, Saraki commended his colleagues for taking the exercise seriously and suppressing partisanship in their contributions.
He then setup a six-man Ad-hoc Committee to articulate the recommendations of the Senators and come up with a report to be adopted at Tuesday’s plenary. The committee is headed by Senator Abdullahi Yahaya from Kebbi State.
Reps move to invite Buhari
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has resolved to setup a committee to meet with the Senate to invite President Buhari to address the joint session of the National Assembly on the recession.
The decision was sequel to a motion moved by Hon. Mukaila Olayiwola Kazzim (Ogun State).
Leading the debate on the motion, the lawmaker noted that due to the crash of crude oil prices from over $120 per barrel in the last quarter of 2014 to about $45 at present, “Nigeria has been witnessing a dramatic reduction in oil earnings, which has impacted negatively on revenues available to finance expenditure, as a result, the foreign reserves had been depleted to bridge the gap.”
Hon. Ahmed Chanchangi expressed worry, pointing out that the nation needs a clear economic direction and policy to achieve the desired goal.
source: The authority newspaper