Economy Must Be Our Central Focus – Dogara Tells Lawmakers

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, has stressed the need for lawmakers to see the nation’s economy as a critical and urgent task before the legislature that must be addressed.

His demand is coming at a time the nation’s economy is in recession, with the Naira losing value against the Nigeria, but the Executive Arm of government, submitting this year’s budget in December, said reflating the economy wat its focus.

Honourable Dogara made the remark on Tuesday in a speech at the resumption of plenary after the yuletide break.

The lawmaker told the House that “as 2017 rolls by, we should expect great challenges once again but with renewed determination and faith that things shall surely get better with God on our side”.

He called the attention of the House to what he called the most critical and urgent task before them, saying “it is the pending 2017 Appropriation Bill”.

“My Honourable colleagues, the economy must be our central focus in 2017.

“Measures to exit Nigeria out of recession must be the critical aspect of our legislative activities.

“The 2017 Budget remains the major tool to rejig our economy. This is in addition to other fiscal and monetary policies.

“The recent fiscal measures including import prohibition of certain items and the increase or decrease of tariff on some items should receive appropriate legislative scrutiny to ensure that the economy and the interests of our people are protected.

“We must ensure that we take no prisoners in accomplishing this task,” he stressed.

Honourable Dogara stated that the year 2016 presented Nigeria with its peculiar challenges especially in the area of security and the economy.

Nigeria’s economy had slipped into recession in the second quarter of 2016, a situation that the Speaker described as a period of grievous social stress for the citizenry.

He said: “It was also the year in which terrorism in the North East, militancy in the South-South, the despicable phenomenon of kidnapping as well as the flash of agitations bared their murderous fangs – visiting death, pain and anguish on the populace.

“In all these, it is gratifying to note that the fundamentals of nationhood remain strong, robust and promising.

“We commend the gallantry, ingenuity and professionalism of our armed forces and security agencies, the political will of the Buhari-led government and the unbending resilience of the Nigerian people.

“Many developments in the polity require legislative and executive responses.

“It was during this break that our citizens woke up to heart-warming and cheering news when the military authorities declared they had captured the most strategic major stronghold held by Boko Haram terrorists”.

While commending the military for their sacrifices and commitment that resulted in the triumph, Honourable Dogara pointed out that the war against terrorism was still on and urged Nigerians to remain vigilant against targeting of soft targets by fleeing terrorists, as they attempt to terrorise the populace.

The lawmaker also touched issues of herdsmen attack in some states, highlighting the outbreak of violence resulting in wanton killings and destruction of property in Southern Kaduna, Birnin Gwani, parts of Zamfara State.

On the external front, particularly within the ECOWAS sub-region, the lawmaker stated that recent events call for both joy and concern.

“There have been peaceful elections and transition of power in Ghana to the delight and pride of all Africans.

“However, in Gambia, even though peaceful elections took place, the outgoing President Yahya Jammeh, has recanted his pledge to hand over power peacefully after losing the elections. The situation in Gambia constitutes a serious dent on the rising profile of the development of democracy on the African continent,” he added.

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