From Ndubuisi Orji, Kemi Yesufu, and Fred Itua, Abuja
Both chambers of the National Assembly yesterday set up two committees to discuss the ailing economy which entered recession in the second quarter of 2016.
From the Senate, Saraki set up a six-member committee, headed by Senator Abdullahi Yahaya, to consider the deliberations of the senators.
Other members are: Senators Barau Jibrin, Ben Murray-Bruce, Rafiu Ibrahim, Mohammed Hassan and John Owan-Enoh.
South-East and South-West geo-political zones have no representatives on the Senate committee.
The committee will work within the next three days to summarise the deliberations in the debate and submit for final considerations and recommendations on Tuesday.
Across the lobby, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said a House committee will be set up next week to liase with the Senate on the issue.
Earlier, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Hassan Turaki, Dogara made a strong case for President Muhammadu Buhari to address a joint session of the National Assembly on the matter.
“The recent retreat by Mr. 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 the nation out of recession.”
In the Senate, members continued the debate on the calls for the sale of national assets including the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas an refineries. Majority of Senators opposed such move, saying it was not in Nigeria’s interest.
Also, members of the House of Representatives yesterday concluded debate on the economic recession and resolved to get the concurrence of the Senate to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to address the National Assembly.
Many Senators who contributed to the debate, opposed the plan while others stressed that the political elite including them had contributed to the problem. Other contributors, however, demanded the restructuring of Nigeria’s federalism, while some called for the revisiting of policies such as the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
Deputy Senate Leader Bala Na’Allah, however, urged the government to reconsider its policy on TSA and its policies on domiciliary accounts.
He said though the intentions in crafting the policies were germane, they were unfortunately affecting the economy adversely. Senator Andy Ubah that it would be wrong to sell the assets. If we sell our assets now to recover from this recession, what would we sell in the future if we ever slip into another recession,” he queried.
Meanwhile, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to readjust his policy on anti-corruption, stressing that the current policy was instilling fear on investors.
Bruce, who disclosed this while contributing to the debate, said Nigeria should not expect foreign investments as even the local investors had stopped putting in their money.
At the end of the debate,
There is no representation from the South-East and South-West on the committee. While speaking, Saraki charged the committee to be discreet in summarising the recommendations of the Senators and come up with a final document for Tuesday’s plenary.
“Their work is just to put together all the things we have said over the last couple of days in a form of list of prayers that we will now take on Tuesday. Hopefully we will be able to pass a resolution on Tuesday and then decide the way forward on that,” he said.