As a consequence, the House has mandated an ad hoc Committee to interact with relevant stakeholders in public and private sectors to ensure a reversal of the prevailing recession within three months.
The lawmakers however absolved themselves of blames on the economic crisis confronting the country, notwithstanding that the legislature is part of government.
While inaugurating the Wole Ayorinde-led tactical committee on economic recession Tuesday, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said the House could no longer stand aloof and watch the situation gets worse considering the report of the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that stated that economic recession is already with the country.
“The double quarters of negative growth, High levels of inflation, worsening purchasing power of the Naira and the increasing levels of unemployment are all strong indicators that all is not well.
“Today, some of our people can no longer afford to feed. Some School children are dropping out of school due to inability of parents to pay school fees. Transportation, power, healthcare are difficult for the ordinary citizen. There is general anguish on the faces of Nigerians due to poverty and hunger.
“We cannot however, continue to lament. The problems are well known. At this point in time, it is the solutions that matters more and that is what should engage our attention. As a parliament, we are committed to ensuring that the sufferings experienced by ordinary Nigerians are alleviated.
“These challenges may appear too difficult to surmount but the good news is that they are surmountable. Other nations have surmounted greater economic challenges in the past and Nigeria’s case cannot be different”.
Chairman of the 16-member committee, Wole Ayorinde (APC, Ondo) however said the impact of the committee will be felt immediately by Nigerians.
According to him, the recommendations of the committee would be implemented by relevant stakeholders immediately interactions are concluded with the Committee.
He said, “This is not a talk shop, we will look into the free fall of naira and in the next three months, we shall see whether how much we can go with our interaction with relevant agencies to ensure that the current foreign exchange will not fall beyond that but improve before the end of the tenure of our committee. That is what we are going to work towards.
“The outcome of the activities of this Committee will be implemented as we are working. If we interact with the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) for instance and we agreed on certain things within the constitutional mandates of the Customs, as we are leaving they are implementing because they will want to be seen to be jointly working together to rescue the economy.
“They won’t wait for the report of the Committee; we will start feeling the impact of the committee as we swing into action.
“If we have interaction with the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and we agreed on certain measures to arrest the free fall of the naira before we leave that place, the CBN governor would start to implement our recommendations.”
“This not a talk shop, this Committee is not a study group but to join hands with relevant agencies to put in place policies that will quickly return our economy to the path of stability, growth and development”.
When asked if the setting of the committee was not an apology and an admittance of failure of the National Assembly to properly oversight Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) before the country went into recession, Ayorinde said the legislators cannot be blamed.
“We are not apologising because we have not done anything wrong.
“In the exercise of our mandate in the House, we have done that which the constitution provided for the House to do.
“We are also not apportioning blame, what we have done as a responsive and responsible House is to feel the pain of Nigerians and rise to the occasion to join hands with the executive so as to quickly bring back smiles into the faces of Nigerians,” he said.