From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Member of the House of Representatives representing Epe Federal Constituency of Lagos, Wale Raji, has said the proposal of the Executive arm of government to peg the exchange rate at N410.15 per US Dollar in the 2022 budget is akin to an official devaluation of the Naira.
Raji, stated this while contributing to debate on the general principles of the 2022 budget. The lawmaker argued that the exchange rate will further impoverish Nigerians as the economy is dependent on importation.
He noted that the devaluation of the economy over the years has never benefited the citizens in anyway.
According to him, “It has led to high rate of inflation, drastic reduction in the purchasing power of the citizens, increased cost of doing business, corruption and brain drain particularly among our highly skilled professionals. Rather than this continued devaluation of our currency, I recommend that efforts should be geared towards strengthening of the Naira”.
Raji, who is also the chairman Committee on House Services called for review of the power of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) to determine cost of importing petrol and deduct same from the country’s oil revenue account, so as to check leakages.
He said “while lamenting the poor performance of oil revenue relative to the budget, Mr. President attributed the poor performance largely to the shortfall in production as well as significant cost recovery by NNPC to cover the shortfall between its cost of importing petrol and the pump price.
“The freedom presently enjoyed by NNPC to determine cost of importing petrol and deducting same from the country’s oil revenue account has been a source of concern to Nigerians”, he said.
The lawmaker commended the Federal Government for the progress recorded in infrastructural development particularly in Rail transportation sector.
” The completion of the Lagos-lbadan, Abuja-Kaduna and the ltakpe-Ajaokuta railines is highly commendable.
“Mr. President promised in his budget speech that the Calabar-Lagos coastal
line which is expected to connect the Southern and Eastern States of the country will soon commence.
” I urge Mr. President to prioritize this projects and ensure completion possibly before the end of the tenure of this administration.
“Mr. President also spoke about progress being made on several power generation, transmission and distribution projects. While this is commendable, I urge the Committee on Power to work with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (T CN) to ensure speedy completion of the Omptosho-Epe-Ahah power project which commenced in 2012 and has remained uncompleted nine (9) years after the award of the contract”, Raji said.