By Patience Danjuma
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, says the Nigerian economy is on the path of growth going by the successes recorded in the implementation of the economic recovery and growth plan.
Dogara said this on Monday at a Summit on Legislative Framework for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development, organised by the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Economic Recession in Abuja.
He said the House in pursuance of its constitutional responsibility had been weighing in to partner with the executive to provide necessary legislative support for the implementation of the economic recovery plan.
“In January 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan targeted at improving agriculture, infrastructure, energy, transportation to serve as the needed foundation for industrialisation and productivity.
“The plan also consists of heavy social investment plan, security plan and the fight against corruption.
“The outcome of this collaboration with the Executive is evident in the fact that our country is firmly on the path of economic growth and progress,’’ Dogara said.
He noted that the theme of the summit: “Legislative Framework for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development,” was apt in view of the current status of the nation’s economic recovery trajectory.
“With Nigeria’s economy taking a turn for good, as confirmed by the World Bank and NBS Data, which showed that the GDP growth rate moved from negative to positive (hence technically ending the recession).
Dogara said, however, that the terminal date of a recession was usually no cheering news for families as the traumatic effects of a recession usually last far more than the duration of an economic downturn.
“It is important to note that unemployment remains high, while poverty and inequality continue to take their toll on our hard working but beleaguered people.
“Issues of exchange rate stability high inflation rate, inadequate fiscal response, have also increased the nation’s misery index to about 56 per cent which is spectacularly dismal. For most of our families, the situation has been pathetic.
“In the face of this grim reality, no responsible and proactive parliament, indeed, no Institution of democracy would fold its hands and look the other way as intense poverty and misery hold the knives out for our citizens.
“Therefore, we have no alternative but to craft a viable legal framework upon which sustainable economic growth and progress can be built.
“Our democracy cannot survive the 21st century, unless we eliminate extreme poverty and violence.’’
“Therefore, the most important work for democracy now is eliminating extreme poverty and expanding economic opportunities for all. This is a fight Government alone cannot win; in fact no Government has ever won this fight.
“It is the private sector that always wins the fight. Our citizens and indeed all democratic Institutions must stand up and be counted.
“For us in the Parliament, today’s event is expected to serve as our modest contribution to this noble fight for democracy and progress,’’ he said.
Dogara said that the summit will afford policy makers, members of parliament at both federal and state levels, captains of industry, the academia, organised labour, civil society and non-governmental organisations to interface in tackling infrastructural challenges.
He added that it would also proffer lasting solutions to the socio-economic and infrastructural challenges facing the country.
“It is further hoped that the summit will result in recommendation of a legislative framework that will promote transparency, provide robust governance solutions and clearly define roles.
“It will also provide a standardised and acceptable framework for financial management, efficient regulatory framework and maximize the potentials of various policy strategies that will positively promote the realisation of sustainable economic development,’’ Dogara said.
The Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Rep. Bode Ayoride (Ondo-APC), in his presentation, expressed concern that Nigeria was the seventh most populous country in the world, behind China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil and Pakistan.
“We are obviously not among the 15 countries in the world known as trillion dollars economies reputed to be in control of over 75 per cent of the global wealth,’’ Ayoride said.
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