The upper legislative chamber, the Senate, yesterday resumed sitting after its 62-day end-of-session break and started off in a business-like manner by representing a 26-paragraph address read by its President, Bukola Saraki. The address was themed around the need to lift Nigeria out of the current recession it is undergoing. According to Saraki, ‘when people are desperately hungry, what they need is leadership with a clear vision; leadership whose daily actions reflects the very urgency of the people’s condition. Therefore, our response to the current challenge must be dictated by the urgency of the hardship that the people suffer on a daily basis.’ With that in mind the Senate came up with 14 suggestions, some of which include
- Immediately putting in place “leadership-level engagement platform” with the private sector
- Raise capital from asset sales and other sources to shore up foreign reserves
- Executive and CBN must agree on a policy of monetary easing to stimulate the economy and harmonize monetary and fiscal policies until economic recovery is attained
- Re-tool the export promotion policy scheme with export incentives such as the resumption of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG). In addition, they want export-financing initiatives introduced.
- Meaningful dialogue with those aggrieved in the Niger Delta to avoid an escalation of the crisis in the region
- Immediate release of funds to ensure the implementation of the budget as a way of injecting money into the economy
- Agricultural sector and the agro-allied businesses should be directly supported to boost value addition and job creation.
According to the Senate, ‘the Executive must begin to take the following needful steps to show Nigerians, the international community and investors, both local and foreign, that we are ready to reform and do business’.
Members of the Senate were asked to put aside partisan politics and take decisions that would facilitate the country’s early exit from recession.
Parts of this article originally appeared in Guardian Newspapers