Reps discuss strategy to end economic downturn
• Want state of emergency in aviation sector, political solution to Niger Delta crisis
The House of Representatives yesterday debated ways to rescue the nation’s economy from current decline.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the session, said a committee would be set up, to liaise with the Senate, and present a common position to President Buhari next week.
Egwu Emmanuel (APC, Kogi – Idah/Igalamela/Ibaji/Ofu) called for a meeting of experts to proffer solutions to the financial crisis.
He stressed the need for equilibrium in the country’s monetary and fiscal policies and warned against using soldiers to crush agitators in the Niger Delta region.
“I don’t think it is wise to take the battle to where the eggs of the land are laid. We must find a political solution to the problem. We must beware the danger of destroying the revenue base of the country for now. We must negotiate with the militants because we have to approach the crisis with a high level of diplomacy,” he said.
Gyang Istifanus Dung (PDP, Plateau – Barkin Ladi/Riyom) regretted that Nigeria ranked 152 out of 188 underdeveloped nations in the United Nations Development Programme’s human index analysis. He called for diversification of the economy. He also urged the executive arm of government to offer political solutions, social intervention programmes, and sound fiscal policies, to address poverty.
Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nkiruka Onyejiocha, faulted decision to concession the country’s major airports. She called for an emergency stakeholders’ meeting to offer answers to the effects of recession on the aviation sector. She also called for declaration of a state of emergency in the sector.
House Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, said there was no way growth could be achieved as long as the 36 states of the federation depended on statutory allocations from the Federal Government.
He said Nigerians needed to view fall in oil price in the international market as a blessing in disguise. He also canvassed review of mineral resources control, to benefit states and councils of the federation.
He blamed policy somersaults for the economic downturn, arguing that a review of the exclusive legislative list would fast track ongoing quest for diversification.
Applauding the motive behind establishment of the Treasury Single Account, he urged the executive to utilise funds warehoused to reflate the economy.