Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prepare on the possibility of addressing the joint session of the National Assembly in view of the economic recession.
Dogara stated this on the floor of the House on the continuation of the House debate on recession.
He noted that the measure would afford the president the opportunity to inform the lawmakers and Nigerians steps being taking to take the country out of recession.
The speaker argued that the current situation calls for wider consultation and concerted effort by all stakeholders, noting that as leaders, they should take responsibility for the present economic situation.
Dogara said he was of the firm conviction that the present travails offer Nigeria the opportunity to launch itself among the comity of prosperous nations.
According to him, “The recent retreat by the president with his cabinet and sundry statutory appointees is most commendable.
“It is in this regard, that I urge Mr President to consider holding a joint emergency session of the National Assembly to brief both the Legislature and indeed Nigerians of his plans to pull Nigeria out of recession.
“This will provide opportunity for all stakeholders to be on the same page and to act in concert for urgent national recovery. It will also further consolidate existing ongoing consultations between the presidency and the National Assembly on the way forward.
“We must never miss the opportunity the present travails offer us to launch Nigeria into its rightful destiny and place among the comity of prosperous nations.
“As representatives of the people, we are well acquainted with the alarming state of the citizens penury. We will therefore collaborate with the Executive in fine tuning any observed limitations in policy formulation and implementation to ensure speedy delivery of services to our people.”
“We need to immediately take a second look at the pace of budget execution; the spiraling rise of the dollar against the Naira and the multiple exchange rate regime; the impact of the Treasury Single Account on the economy, investment in infrastructure, tackling unemployment, among others.
“The state of our economy is of urgent and critical importance.That Nigeria has gone into recession is a very worrisome development that calls for emergency measures to be taken. All hands must be on deck to tackle the myriads of problems facing us.
“This is not the time for partisanship. This is not the time to score political points. This is not the time for grandstanding. This is not the time for blame games. The situation and the times call for bold, courageous, enlightened and purposeful leadership. This is a patriotic call to action from all stakeholders and indeed all Nigerians. We must unite as a people to rescue Nigeria from the shackles of poverty, social and economic underdevelopment.
“As leaders, we must take responsibility for the present economic situation although we are not directly responsible for it. We must admit that this is a difficult thing to do in the present generation that spurns responsibility. Everyone want to blame someone for something that goes wrong.”
In their separate contributions, the lawmakers strongly advocated for diversification of the economy, clear-cut policies and tapping into the abundant mineral resources in the country as possible solution to the recession.
Hon Johnson Agbonayinma said that the Treasury Single Account, TSA was not just to stash money somewhere, but to pay contractors so as to keep the economy afloat.
Hon Bukar Goni was of the view that the way out of recession was through diversification, adding that agriculture was an important sector that it well utilised could revive the economy.
In his contribution, Hon Zakari Mohammed said the country should tap into its mineral resources since every part of the country was endowed.
Mohammed noted that in time like this, there should be a synergy between the executive and legislature.
The Minority Leader, Hon Leo Ogor lamented that since inception, leaders of the country had been paying lip service to the issue of diversification.
Ogor stressed that there was lack of clear-cut economic policies and policy inconsistency, adding that the president should stop demarketing Nigeria when on foreign trips.