Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has given assurance that the 8th Senate will collaborate with the executive to ensure that the policies and programmes of the present administration that are aimed at reviving the economy are sustained on a long term basis.
Saraki, who stated this in Abuja when he received the national executive of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) led by its President, Professor Olugbenga Okunola, said that the Senate is on a mission to ensure that the country harnesses her non-oil resources and achieve full diversification of the economy.
“For us in the 8th Senate, we have said it that our focus is to continue to give support to those sectors of our economy that will provide employment, increase the earnings of government and the growth of the economy in general.
“And if you are talking about the growth of the economy, you have to give particular consideration to the mining sector. And what do we need to do to get that done? I want to assure you that the message I will like you to take away is that the 8th Senate is ready to give all the support in ensuring that we truly begin to harness the hitherto the unexplored and neglected potentials that we have.
“We have been talking about these potentials for a long time. It is time to talk about realising the potentials and translating them to economic power. how to bring. That is our own vision and mission.
“We have all seen the downside of being a mono-product economy. We are all suffering from it now. When you see what is happening to our revenues, our foreign exchange inflows and particularly what is happening to even the foreign exchange rate due to our over dependence on crude oil.
“The projections that it is going to be down for a couple of years means that any serious minded country needs to look at the options available. And some of the things we are seeing now is because there is a lot of speculation out there.
“A lot of the speculators believe that we don’t have the political will to see through some of the policies and programmes aimed at diversifying the economy and that is why you see a lot of them are betting against the Naira. That is why you see all of a sudden, the Naira is rebounding because they are beginning to see that it appears that this government is committed on its policy.
“I want to assure you that we are committed. The political will is there. We are very determined to see that we diversify. All these things you are talking about are well known to a lot of us.
“The frustration has been that we have not been able to see it through. I want to assure you that this Senate is committed to ensure that we support the executive in sustaining these long term polices. This is important and that is where we must start from,” he said.
Earlier, Okunola said that the Society visited the Senate President to, among others, appreciate what the 8th Senate has been doing.
“We have been talking about diversification of the nation’s economy over the years….I think as a society, as professionals, this is what we have been clamouring for over the years that we are sitting on buried riches and that the government is now saying that they want to take this serious gladdens us.
“That is why we are here to appreciate this government for what they are doing and we are ready to offer our professional help – we are not talking in terms of financial reward – but this is one thing we want to offer our country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Saraki will, on Monday, formally receive the Business Environment Legislative Review Report developed by a team of Legal Advisers to the ENABLE-DFID programme, led by Professor Paul Idornigie.
An official statement from his office stated that the report, which was initiated by the Senate President, is in fulfilment of the Legislative Agenda of the 8th National Assembly geared towards creating a business friendly environment in the country.
“Following the legislative agenda of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the 8th National Assembly, and in consultation with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), the Nigerian Bar Association – Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) and other key private sector stakeholders; the Office of the Senate President initiated a review of the institutional, regulatory and legal instruments currently constraining and impeding business activity in Nigeria.
“With the technical aid and support of ENABLE-DFID and GEMS 3 programmes, a team of experts conducted a business environment legislative review covering the entire raft of legal structures affecting businesses today. The underlying objective of the review is to provide a framework for the assessment and improvement of legislation and policy affecting businesses in Nigeria,” the statement added.
Idornigie led the team of legal advisers that conducted the research of business environment acts and bills and developed the Business Environment Legislative Review Report.
The report is expected to propose priority legislative areas that will provide a solid foundation of evidence to set priorities for new and revised business environment legislation by the National Assembly.
“With the reform of key sectors of the economy, there is a critical need to facilitate an enabling environment for private sector participation. There are Bills pending before the National Assembly that are of priority importance to doing business and overall private sector development in Nigeria, especially in infrastructure delivery,” it stated.
Expected at the presentation, which will take place at the National Assembly on Monday, are the the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara; World Bank representatives, the Chairman of the NESG, Mr. Kyari Bukar, the Nigerian Bar Association – Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) representatives led by Asue Ighodalo; and private sector and media stakeholders.