Economic recession: Lawmakers reject calls for sale of national assets
Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 22 September 2016 | 2,277 times
The debate on the revival of Nigeria’s ailing economy continued at the Senate on Thursday as lawmakers took turns to proffer possible solutions to the economic crisis, rejecting calls for the sale of national assets as a way out.
Senator Abdulahi Adamu, representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District, while commenting on the state of the economy, said: “More than 80 per cent of Nigerians cannot afford three meals per day. People are crying. They cannot foot medical bills. They cannot pay rents and their children's school fees. Everybody is shouting hunger and are angry. We have to look into how we can march our priorities for the diversification of the economy that we are talking about. In a time like this, we have to fall back on agriculture.”
He added that “no matter the level of recession, once people have what they can fall back on, the rest is left for technocrats. Once they don’t have, then we are living in a nation where there is angry majority. The fundamental responsibility of a responsible government is the preservation of lives and property.”
Speaking on the proposed sale of national assets, he said: “We have other things we can fall back on without tampering with our national assets. For now we must protect what we have.”
Senator Andy Uba, representing Anambra South Senatorial District, while contributing, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that portfolios are subsequently, attached to ministerial nominees list in order to give Senators a clear idea of the duties they are expected to perform.
“All we hear is discordant tunes from Central Bank, Budget Office and Finance Ministry,” he said.
Senator Mustapha Bukar of Katsina North in his contribution concluded that “we don’t need to borrow, we need to restructure our laws to strengthen our economy.”
He further asked for policies that will allow local and foreign investors invest in the economy and look internally.
Chief Whip of the Senate, Olusola Adeyeye, representing Osun Central, while contributing, said superficial solutions are not needed and politicians should not do any grandstanding but deep analysis and solutions to come out of the recession.
He added that “miracle will not happen until we do what is expected of us. When we fail to do what is needful, miracle is nothing but abracadabra. We must ask ourselves how we got here. All Zonal Intervention Projects must be implemented for government presence everywhere.
“I must also say that if we must save Nigeria, we must cut cost of governance. Nigeria estacode is the highest in the world, which is 50 per cent. We cannot continue to joke here.”
Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, in her contribution, made a case for youths, women and aged people. She said that “our people are not interested in grammar of recession, change, sales of national assets and the rest. They only want to know how they will survive and not die of hunger.”
She urged all arms of government to work together to bring Nigerians out of hunger, saying: “We are here sitting down and we can afford three square meal. But our people cannot. They need to be taken out and saved from the current state of the country.”
Senator Sunday Ogbuoji, representing Ebonyi South, admitted that “the current recession is a blessing in disguise as there is an element of good in it, to rethink how we do our things.”
Also speaking on the proposed sale of national assets, he declared that “we must first kill the endemic corruption in our policies. If we fail to do this, this problem will still repeat itself.
“We must always portray Nigeria very well inwardly and outwardly. We cannot be saying Nigeria is corrupt all the time. Corruption is everywhere in the world. Other nations are managing their own corruption but we are not. Corruption was even imported into Nigeria.”