The House of Representatives has constituted an Ad hoc Tactical Committee to monitor the various steps and policies of Government geared towards abating the hardship being experienced by Nigerians as a result of economic recession. The Committee which was set up following the prayers of a motion moved by the Chairman, Rules and Business Committee of the House, Hon. Emmanuel Oker-Jev at plenary on Thursday, January 26, 2017 is also charged with the responsibility of interacting with critical Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs), the Manufacturer Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Labour Congress, Civil Society Organizations and indeed any other body considered relevant to arrest the untold hardship in the country and restore growth and stability in the economy.
Oker-Jev stated that in tune with the directive principles and fundamental objectives of State policies encapsulated in the Constitution and as Representatives of the people, the parliament is under obligation to initiate pro-active steps in tandem with the policies and plans of Government to ameliorate the sufferings of the citizenry as a result of the economic woes facing the nation. " Members cannot claim to be oblivious of the hardships Nigerians currently face as a result of the skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs, transportation, petroleum products and other essential commodities which have left children, women and the common man worst hit" he stated.
He further informed that yet another implications of the recession is the fact commercial banks have recently reviewed upwards the interest paid on credits to the rate of 27-30%, plus the highly polarized and depreciating exchange rate between the Naira and the Dollar. He added that if urgent steps are not taken to address these issues, the economy is poised to slide into stagflation or depression to say the least. The Lawmaker urged the House to set up the Ad hoc Tactical Committee to monitor the steps taken as well as the seriousness of Government towards arresting the situation and returning the economy to the path of growth and viability.
Lending his voice to the important motion, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara appreciated the fact that the chamber is concerned about the suffering of the people. While decrying the height of hardship being experienced by Nigerians across the Federation, he suggested that the House holds a sectoral debate on steps and policies taken to get the nation out of recession, whereby key Ministers and top Government functionaries will be invited to address the House on efforts made in this regard. He added that it would also be wise if the Committee reports back to the House within 3 months for timely legislative action.
Meanwhile, the House has adjourned to resume plenary on February 21, 2017. The reason for the short recess from plenary according to the Speaker is to enable the Chamber pay more attention to the passage of the 2017 budget at the Committee levels.