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Business News of Friday, 20 October 2023


Senate Leader seeks legislative action to halt Naira’s free fall

Opeyemi Bamidele Opeyemi Bamidele

The Leader of the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele has challenged his colleagues in the legislature to come up with creative legislation alongside proper oversight in order to halt the free fall of the Nigerian currency- Naira.

Bamidele said this in a paper he presented at the ongoing two-day retreat for Senators in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, on Friday.

The retreat was organised by the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, the retreat was designed to build the capacity of the senators to enact pro-people legislations that could promote enduring peace; guarantee sustainable development and deepen peaceful co-existence, among Nigerians.

The lawmaker also recommended regular formal and informal interactions between federal lawmakers and all members of the Federal Executive Council as one of the measures that should be adopted to integrate the eight-point agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu with the programmes of the 10th National Assembly.

Bamidele who expressed concerns about the weakening of Naira, made a case for appropriate legislative frameworks and oversight support for the implementation of responsive fiscal and monetary policy with a view to rescuing the economy from recession.

He said both chambers of the National Assembly “…are under obligations to stem the recurring decimal of Naira devaluation and promote economic stability.

“This entails appropriate legislative framework and oversight support for the implementation of responsive fiscal and monetary policy measures.

“Henceforth, developing appropriate legislative frameworks is central to ensuring macroeconomic stability with focus on managing inflation, addressing high interest rates as well as foreign exchange deficit.”

Bamidele equally recommended a variety of antidotes to socio-economic challenges currently confronting the federation.

First, he recommended an urgent review of the Land Use Act, 1979 to redress the current land tenure system and give Nigerians more access to arable farmland nationwide.

The lawmaker observed that ensuring more access to arable farmland would boost agricultural production exponentially and guarantee food security nationwide because most Nigerians, especially those in the rural communities, were predominantly farmers.

He emphasised the need to prioritise the Small Towns and Village Recovery and Development Bill in order to restore economic fairness to the rural communities in the scheme of national revenue allocations as well as the provision of rural infrastructure.

He explained that the initiative would obviously stem the alarming rate of rural–urban drift and the attendant urban population explosion, urban criminality, environmental degradation and huge gap between available resources and demands in the cities.

Bamidele also stressed that an effective implementation of the poverty alleviation programme “is fundamental to promoting peace, harmony and sustainable democracy in Nigeria where over 70 percent of the nation’s population is reportedly living below poverty line.”

Adding that, “To reduce the increasing inequality between the poor and rich, we urgently need to strengthen the National Directorate of Employment through the amendment of relevant legislations that will create limitless opportunities for our teeming jobless populations.

“We are also under obligations not just to overhaul our National Poverty Eradication Programme and National Economic Reform Plan, but also back them up with adequate funding to provide social safety nets for the poor and the vulnerable across the federation.”

He, however, said immediate action was required to reduce to the nearest minimum if not eliminate corruption in the society.

Bamidele warned that the federation should prepare for mass action from the downtrodden if urgent efforts are not taken to tackle crippling inequality among Nigerians.

As a matter of national security, the senate leader tasked the National Assembly to work out preventive measures to address corrupt practices rather than emphasising on measures to cure them.

Bamidele equally challenged the federal government to discourage selective treatment, executive lawlessness, high handedness, and political persecution of perceived enemies in the fight against corruption.

Also, at the retreat, Bamidele called for a joint retreat between the executive and legislature in order to work out modalities to integrate Tinubu’s eight-point agenda with the programmes of the National Assembly.

He explained that the proposed retreat would provide opportunity for all chairmen of standing committees in the Senate and House Committees to sit with ministers and their permanent secretaries to synergise on the approaches to implementing the eight-point agenda of the Tinubu administration.

Those at the event included the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio; Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas; Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin; Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Mr. Wale Edun and other members of the Federal Executive Council.