Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan yesterday in Abuja advised the federal government to grant special amnesty for Nigerians who are in possession of the country’s stolen monies stashed in various banks across the world.
Senator Akpan representing Akwa Ibom North-East under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the upper legislative chamber, said this would encourage them to bring back the money for investments in Nigeria.
This, he further told journalists in an interview, would create employment for the people and also assist the government to generate enough foreign exchange earnings to drive the nation’s economy,
“The time has come when we have to think outside the box and my own position is this; it is possible that the government can declare amnesty on stolen money. Let every Nigerian that has taken money out of this country be giving amnesty to bring back the money and invest in the country.
“We have hundreds of billions of dollars starched outside the country in the international banks which are being used to drive their economy. Other countries are enjoying this money while we are suffering in Nigeria.
“When owners of the Nigeria’s stolen foreign currencies bring them back to the country as a result of the amnesty, a lot of foreign exchange can be generated to fund our local consumption and we can set target.
“They should bring 70 percent of the money and invest in Nigeria’s economy. Why are we suffering in the midst of plenty? Amnesty was created for militancy; create amnesty for anybody that has taken money outside this country so that they can invest them in the country. We can generate a hundred billion dollars in the process in less than six months,” he stressed.
According to Senator Akpan, “We need enough forex to fund our importation, rebuild our industries, establish capacity locally and import raw materials for industries before talking of exporting finished products. Where we are as a country now, we should begin to look inward.
“One thing is to fight corruption; another thing is to let your battle as a fighter of corruption yield the appropriate results. Our economy based on the statistics available to us has gone into full blown recession. There is reduction in revenue collection based on the basis of oil export because of the dwindling global oil crisis.
“The cost of producing a barrel of crude in Nigeria is about $35 per barrel and it is being sold for $48. That means that as a country we earn less than $13 per barrel.
“Countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran and other co-OPEC countries had fallen back on their quantity to meet up their demands but in Nigeria, where we are losing 800 barrels of oil per day when we are also supposed to be boosting our production.
“We are expected to use income from oil to develop other sectors of the economy. That is why I believe very strongly that since some countries had also done it in the past, Nigeria also needs to grant amnesty to those who are in possession of our money that we need to develop. It has happened before in Indonesia, declare amnesty.
“Tell every Nigerian that has money in their foreign accounts, whether through corruption or through any other means, to bring the money within the next six months,” the lawmaker said.
He further affirmed: “The influx of this foreign exchange will crash the value of dollars in Nigeria; it will also create a demand on the part of CBN to fund demands on the importation of raw materials to boost our industries. We can’t diversify the economy without making dollars available to drive the process. It got nothing to do with whether I support corruption or not. But it got a whole lot to do with meeting the collective needs of Nigerians.”

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