Senate President Bukola Saraki on Tuesday list various steps for the executive to consider and convience the international community, both local and international investors that the country is ready to reform and do business
Senate President stated this in his welcoming address to the lawmaker on Tuesday. He listed 14 steps for the executives to consider. He wants the executive to immediately put in place leadership-level engagement platform with the private sector. “This must be one that is pro-business and shows unequivocally that government is ready to partner with the private sector towards economic revival. This is a critical signpost towards market confidence which is a key ingredient to help us revamp the economy out of recession” Saraki said
The Senate President also asks the executive to raise capital from asset sales and other sources to shore up foreign reserves. “This will calm investors, discourage currency speculation and stabilize the economy. The measures should include part sale of NLNG Holdings; reduction of government share in upstream oil joint venture operations; sale of government stake in financial institutions e.g. Africa Finance Corporation; and the privatization and concession of major/regional airports and refineries” he said.
Other steps proffers by the Senate President include tweaking the pension funds policy within international best practice safeguards to accommodate investment in infrastructure and mortgages, agreeing on a policy of monetary easing to stimulate the economy and harmonise monetary and fiscal policy until economic recovery is attained and ensure local government borrowing does not crowd out credit for the private sector.
He also asks the executive to retool its export promotion policy scheme with export incentives such as the resumption of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and introduce export-financing initiatives.
Saraki also urge the executive to engage in meaningful dialogue with those aggrieved in the Niger Delta and avoid an escalation of the conflict in the region. The National Assembly is very ready to play any role in the process and offer ideas on approaches that will deliver quick win-win in order to move the region and the economy forward.
He said the executive must as a deliberate response consider immediate release of funds to ensure the implementation of the budget for the near short term to inject money into the economy.
The Senate President said the agricultural sector and the agro-allied businesses should be directly supported to boost value addition and job creation, while government works on the medium to long-term plans, immediate strategies must be devised that would ease the suffering of the ordinary people across our country. In this case particular attention should be given to our citizens in IDP camps. “The image emerging from this zone of deprivation and hunger is no longer acceptable. Government should accelerate interim measures to provide social safety-nets to our people and assuage current high levels of misery in the land. Such intervention should seek to fully execute the social spending framework already provided in the 2016 budget” Saraki said.
He challenges his colleagues to focus on legislative priorities such as the Petroleum Industry Bills (PIB). “On our own part, we must turn our attention towards a number of legislative priorities such as the Petroleum Industry Bills. We must ensure the passage of the PIB as soon as possible to stimulate new investment and boost oil revenue. As we all know, this bill is long in waiting and is very crucial for vital investment in the oil and gas sector. The impasse of not passing the bill is doing great harm to the industry and the Nigerian economy as a whole” he said.
He assure that the Senate is ready to receive and consider expeditiously any additional proposals from the Executive to create a new Nigerian economy and get us out of this recession as quickly as possible.