From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, expressed worry over rising cost of living in Nigeria, blaming it on increases in price of electricity and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Rising from a closed door session where the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and his management team briefed them, the lawmakers, however, reassured Nigerians that the current hardship will not last, expressing hope that the policy decisions of the apex bank will soon begin to yield results.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who explained the position of the Senate in a press release, said: “The Senate also acknowledge the pains that many people may be facing at this time, especially in light of increases in price of electricity and fuels. But having carefully considered the policies of the CBN, the Senate would like to commend and support these policies because they are mostly geared towards increasing local production, creating jobs here in Nigeria, safeguarding our commonwealth, and expanding economic opportunities and growth in Nigeria.”
The Senate also backed the recent foreign exchange regime of the CBN. Saraki explained the position of the Senate: “In view of the above, the Governor of the CBN presented a comprehensive and lucid account of the performance of the Nigerian economy in the last one year.
“His presentation began with current global economic conditions, which have been characterised by external shocks including the sharp decline in commodity prices, the geopolitical tensions along important global trading routes, and tightening of monetary policy in the United States of America.”
He drew linkages of these occurrences with the Nigerian economy, especialy with respect to the over 70 per cent decline in oil prices from about $116 per barrel in June 2014 to about $30 per barrel earlier in the year.
“It is critical that we all put hands together to seek long term solutions to our underlying problem of non-diversification of foreign exchange earning and revenues, rather than pointing fingers or apportioning blames.
“The Senate believes strongly in the resilience of the Nigerian economy and the ingenuity of the Nigerian people and as such, we are confident that we will all pull through these difficulties and come out as a much better, equitable and prosperous nation.”