REMARKS BY RT. HON. YAKUBU DOGARA AT A SUMMIT ON LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
REMARKS OF HIS EXCELLENCY RT. HON. YAKUBU DOGARA, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT A SUMMIT ON LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, ORGANISED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AD-HOC COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC RECESSION ON 6TH NOVEMBER, 2017 AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA
It is my great honour and privilege to welcome you this morning to this special event organised by the House Ad Hoc Committee on Economic Recession. This Ad-Hoc Committee was set up by the House in response to the Recession that plagued the Nigerian economy, following the concurrent Resolution of both Chambers of the National Assembly (Senate Resolution S/Res./018/02/16 and House Resolution (HR.107/2016), on the subject matter. It was constituted to among others, monitor the various steps and policies of Government on the subject; interact with relevant stakeholders towards overcoming the challenges; and to help develop legislative responses to efforts by key actors designed to return our economy to the path of growth and stability.
2. In the wake of the crisis, the federal government formulated and executed some crisis response measures in its calculated bid to save the economy while not losing sight of the broader ambitions for long-term economic growth. It gladdens my heart that we are beginning to enjoy the fruits of those measures. In January 2017, President Muhammad Buhari GCFR, launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan targeted at improving agriculture, infrastructure, energy, transportation to serve as the needed foundation for industrialization and productivity. The Plan also consists of heavy social investment plans, security plan and the fight against corruption. The House of Representatives under our watch, AND IN PURSUANCE OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, has been weighing in to partner and provide the necessary legislative support for the implementation of the plan. The outcome of this collaboration with the Executive is evident by the fact that our country is firmly on the path of economic growth and progress.
3. The theme of this Summit “Legislative Framework for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development”, is therefore most apt in view of the current status of our economic recovery trajectory. With Nigeria’s economy taking a turn for good, as confirmed by the World Bank and NBS Data, which showed that the GDP growth rate moved from negative to positive (hence technically ending the recession), it is important to note that unemployment remains high while poverty and inequality continue to take their toll on our hard working but beleaguered people. Issues of exchange rate stability ,high inflation rate, inadequate fiscal response, have also increased the nation’s misery index to about 56% which is spectacularly dismal. For most of our families, the situation has been pathetic. They have endured the economic downturn with grace; suffering quietl y as they deal with recession by trying to dig their way out of a pit defined by unrelenting economic bleakness. The terminal date of a recession is usually no cheering news for families as the traumatic effects of a recession on families lasts far more than the duration of an economic downturn.
In the face of this grim reality, no responsible and proactive Parliament, indeed, no Institution of democracy should fold its hands and look the other way as intense poverty and misery hold the knives out for our citizens. Therefore, we have no alternative but to craft a viable legal framework upon which sustainable economic growth and progress can be built. We must reverse the nose-diving trend of the hope and opportunity curve of our dear country to stamp out the slide towards violence which is fast becoming the language of the despondent and hopeless.
The fight against violence is the fight of the 21st Century. So many nations have lost their civilizations or have become failed states due to violence. Poverty and misery serve as fuel to violence. For citizens of democracy to defeat violence, they must first defeat extreme poverty. Our democracy cannot survive the 21st century, unless we eliminate extreme poverty and violence. Therefore, the most important work for democracy now is eliminating extreme poverty and expanding economic opportunities for all. This is a fight Government alone cannot win, in fact no Government has ever won this fight. It is the private sector that always wins the fight. Our citizens and indeed all democratic Institutions must stand up and be counted. For us in the Parliament, today’s event is expected to serve as our modest contribution to this noble fight for democracy and progress.
6. This summit will therefore afford policy makers, members of parliament at both federal and state levels, captains of industry, the academia, organised labour, civil society and non-governmental organizations to interface and proffer lasting solutions to the socio-economic and infrastructural challenges facing our dear country. It is further hoped that this summit will result in recommendation of a legislative framework that will promote transparency, provide robust governance solutions, clearly define roles, provide a standardised and acceptable framework for financial management, efficient regulatory framework and maximize the potentials of various policy strategies that will positively promote the realisation of sustainable economic development thereby ensuring that the gains we have made so far are not revised at any time either now or ever.
7. On this note, I must express my heartfelt appreciation to the House Ad-Hoc Committee on Economic Recession and other members of the House of Representatives for this laudable initiative aimed at driving our economic reform process. I equally acknowledge the effort of the private sector initiative, through the Legislative Action Plan on Industry Reform (LAPIN Reform) for their effort in facilitating this Summit.
8. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen it is fitting at this stage to once again welcome all of you to this event. I wish us very successful and fruitful deliberations.
9. Thank you for listening. God bless you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.