Senators yesterday opposed their President, Bukola Saraki, and kicked against the call for the sale of some national assets.
This came at the Senate yesterday set up a six man adhoc committee to review contributions of senators in the two-day debate on economic recession in the country and make recommendations that will be transmitted to the President.
The committee, which has Senator Abdullahi Yahaya, APC, Kebbi North, as chairman, also has as members Senator John Owan Enoh, PDP, CR Central, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, PDP Bayelsa East, Senator Barau Jibril, APC Kano Central, Senator Rafiu Ibrhim, APC Kwara South and Senator Mohammad Hassan, APC Yobe South.
Dr. Saraki had, Wednesday joined the call by some Nigerian elite for the Federal Government to sell some assets to raise funds to help the country out of recession.
Many of the senators who contributed as the debate on the recession in the country continued in the Senate, blamed the elite, including some lawmakers, for the economic problems of the nation.
Some called for the restructuring of Nigeria’s federalism, while others called for a review of some fiscal policies, including the Treasury Single Account, TSA. Leading the debate, Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Na’Allah, called on the government to reconsider its policy on TSA and its policy on domiciliary accounts.
He admitted that though the intention for making the policies may have been genuine, they were unfortunately affecting the economy adversely. He said that the TSA policy had stifled the banks and as such, money was no longer circulating in the economy through loans, mortgages and other means. “The President has good intentions but we have a few people who are not thinking correctly.
“I recall that I complained when the CBN stopped operation of domiciliary accounts within and outside Nigeria. “These two decisions must be revisited and redirected to ensure that there is a platform for redistribution of income.
“The two critical decisions of fighting corruption should be revisited,” he said. Senator Andy Ubah decried the call for sale of national assets, describing it as wrong. “If we sell our assets now to recover from this recession, what would we sell in the future if we ever slip into another recession? “We must seek an alternative way of recovering from this recession but sale of our assets is not the way out,” Mr. Ubah said.
Majority Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, insisted that the nation must be restructured along the lines of true federalism. According to him, the states cannot keep coming to the Federal Government to collect money while ignoring available resources and potentials in their states.
“I want us to look at this current constitutional review, the various exclusive lists and the various concurrent lists; let us look where we have over-burdened the Federal Government. “If we must revitalize the economy, we must have jobs and projects going in every local government, every federal constituency and every senatorial district of this country.
“Let us begin to implement the zonal intervention projects,” he said, adding that the bitter truth was that people in government also contributed to the problems. “If we will save Nigeria we must reduce the cost of governance.
Nigeria’s estacode is the highest in the world; we must slash it to 50 per cent. “Obafemi Awolowo campaigned in 1978 that he was going to slash it and it has now grown into five times what it was in those days; we must slash it. “When you go to our airports and you park your car, you pay N300; that is 75 cents, but in all modern economies you pay per hour.