Reps want Buhari to appear at NASS joint sitting

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, resolved that President Muhammadu Buhari would have to address the joint session of both Senate and the House of Representatives on economic recession facing the country.

The House, however, said a committee would be set up to liase with the Senate counterpart on the need for the president to address its joint session.

As part of its resolution on way out of the economic recession, the House directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Ministry of Finance and  the National Planning Commission to review the existing monetary policy, with a view to developing sustainable lending rates and right environment that would foster real sector growth to enhance economic development.

The House, as well, urged the Federal Government to resuscitate the comatose government-owned industries, which would revamp the economy and preserve scarce foreign exchange.

The House also urged the Federal Government to develop policies that would be attractive investment in the solid minerals sector and pay attention to non-oil sector.

The House resolution was sequel to a motion entitled: “Urgent need to address the economic downturn in Nigeria,” moved by Honourable Mukaila Olayiwola Kazzim.

The lawmaker, while moving the motion, noted that due to the crash of crude oil prices from over $120 per barrel in the last quarter of 2014 to about $45 presently, Nigeria had been witnessing a dramatic reduction in oil earnings, which had impacted negatively on revenues available to finance expenditure.

As a result, he said the foreign reserves had been depleted and the country was faced with a full blown economic recession.

Supporting the motion, Honourable Tajudeen Yusuf said economic recession being experienced presently was a reflection of the seed sown during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, when governors resisted every attempt to contribute more into the sovereign wealth fund, with monthly revenue shared by states and local governments reduced, so as to have fund that could have acted as a buffer at this period of recession.

Speaking further, he said: “Treasury Single Account (TSA) is good, but there must be a system to get money out of the account on time. We need competent people to re jig the economy.”

The Deputy Speaker, Honourable Lasun Yusuf, who also contributed to the motion, said it was only a viable manufacturing and production sector that could get the country out of recession.

On his part, Honourable Mark Gbilla claimed that the country had lost confidence on the economic team of the present administration.

He, as well, called for the reduction in the interest rate to encourage borrowing and diversification, as Nigeria had retained double digit interest rate which does not encourage investment and borrowings.

The minority leader, Honourable  Leo Ogor, on his part, accused the leaders of paying lips service to economic diversification, stressing that “we have failed to look inwards, the constitution has given the only the Federal Government power over mineral resources. The Federal Government has carried much responsibilities that it is not able to execute.

“We need to look at the exclusive list and take out some items and hand them over to the states. Inconsistencies in policies and lack of clearcut policies were the major causes of our economic recession.”

Honourable Joseph Akinlaja, while contributing to the motion, said if there were fear in restructuring the country, the government should be bold enough to restructure the country’s economy where states would manage resources within their jurisdiction.

When the motion was put to vote by the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, it was passed by majority of members.