Senate confident of reviving Nigeria’s economy •Analyses Buhari’s borrowing plan

Posted by News Express | 27 October 2016 | 2,117 times

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The Nigerian Senate says it is focused on fixing the nation’s economy that is in recession by opening up new sectors through legislative interventions.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, gave the indication on Wednesday.

He says the legislative interventions will create jobs.

“With the Senate’s priority bills, private sector participation in railways, road construction and other transport infrastructure that will stimulate job creation will become a reality,” a tweet on his Twitter handle read.

Dr. Saraki’s comment is coming at a time that the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, is to investigate if the concession of assets of the Nigeria Railways Corporation to General Electric violates the county’s privatisation laws.

In a motion considered during Tuesday’s plenary, the lawmakers queried what they described as an attempt by the Federal Executive Council to concession the Western (Lagos – Kano) and Eastern (Port Harcourt – Maiduguri) rail lines, to General Electric, without recourse to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, and privatisation regulations.

The move to investigate the concession agreement with GE came after a motion raised by Hounorable Chukwuemeka Ujam.

Any law that can help reflate the oil-rich nation’s economy will be a welcomed development to many Nigerians, as the effect of the recession is hitting hard on the nation’s currency, the Naira.

The Naira is losing value to the dollar, with an exchange rate of over 450 Naira to a dollar in the parallel market.

The economic recession was officially declared in a report of the National Bureau of Statistics that showed that the Gross Domestic Product contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter.

Hope of a rebound in the economy was, however, reignited by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its report affirmed Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook for October 2016, puts South Africa’s GDP at 280.36 billion Dollars, from 314.73 billion Dollars in 2015.

Meanwhile, latest estimates from the IMF put Nigeria’s GDP at 415.08 billion Dollars, from 493.83 billion Dollars at the end of 2015.

In another development, the Senate, also yesterday, analysed the various issues contained in President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter in which he had requested to borrow $29.960 billion for different projects.

The senate took a deep look at the Consumer Protection Bill, Hydro-electric Power Bill, and Prison Bill among others.

This took place at a plenary session in which the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, read out the letter sent by President Buhari, requesting approval of the Federal Government’s 2016-2018 borrowing plan.

This according to the letter is to cover all sectors which include agriculture, health, water, employment creation, poverty eradication among others, across the country.

“Considering the huge infrastructural deficit currently being experienced in the country and the enormous financial resources required to fill the gap in the face of dwindling resources and the inability of our annual budget to bridge the infrastructure deficit, it has become necessary to resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financial gap which will largely be applied to key infrastructure projects namely power, railway and road project amongst others.”

As the various bills were being considered, Senator Gbenga Ashafa in support of the Prison Bill said that he is particular about the improvement and attitudinal change of inmates.

While Senator Utazi Chukwuka explained the deplorable state of Enugu Prisons, Senator Musa Kwankwaso also affirmed that modern prisons should be built to accommodate prisoners, identifying that there are so many challenges with the operators too.

Mr. Ekweremadu expressed appreciation to the sponsors of the Prison Bill adding that it would help improve conditions of prisoners in Nigeria.

The sitting was adjourned to Thursday 27th October, 2016 when further deliberations into the President’s letter will continue.

•Pieced together from Channels TV reports. Photo shows Senate President Saraki.


Source: News Express

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