The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has stressed the need for urgency in diversifying the nation’s economy in order to improve its GDP and earn foreign exchange, saying the time for paying lip service to the task is over.
This according to Dogara is in line with the House’s resolve to promote the enactment of laws that will make this goal attainable and in the long run, enhance Nigeria’s economic growth and development through the sectoral debate it began on Tuesday, May 3rd with its thematic concern on economic diversification based on its legislative agenda.
The Speaker stated this while delivering his opening remarks during the commencement of the sectoral debates on the floor of the House whilst expressing confidence that all that is required to successfully transform the economy and earn it foreign exchange is available within the country.
Dogara said: “With the fall in crude oil prices, Nigeria really has no choice but to stop paying lip service to the urgent need for diversification of sources of revenue for her economy. The acute scarcity of foreign exchange, power supply challenges, falling GDP, fuel scarcity are some of the current matters of urgent national importance to be fixed”.
“It is our belief that Nigeria possesses the human and material resources required to successfully transform our economy and earn the needed foreign exchange for Nigeria. It is time for Nigeria to develop and transform into a knowledge – based economy. Indeed ICT, Agriculture, Solid Minerals, Culture, Tourism and Entertainment; Trade, investment and manufacturing; Taxation and finance policies; science and technology; efficient Infrastructure such as power, transportation, etc have huge roles to play in the diversification of the Nigerian economy.”
Dogara explained, “the broad objective of the Sectoral Debates is to deepen the engagement of legislators and the executive in national development policy issues and to promote the enactment of appropriate laws to enhance Nigeria’s economic growth and development”.
He added saying that, “these Sectoral Debates are necessitated by the compelling need for stakeholders, particularly the executive and Legislature to engage in debates/ dialogues towards finding sustainable policy strategies and legislations for quick recovery of the economy. ”
Explaining further, Speaker Dogara said at the end of the exercise, the outcomes should be able to be applied by the federal government to help actualise the change agenda of the present administration.
“We expect as I have said, that these debates would help us to craft new laws, lead to better oversight processes and change the way we do things in Nigeria. It is our firm conviction that there is no better way to help deliver the change that our people yearn for than by speaking to those aspirations and insisting that we walk the talk,” he stated.
The sectoral debates is the first of its kind in the legislature in Nigeria, where specific legislative time is being dedicated to undertake debates on particular sectors of the economy with a view to establishing specific roles expected of them in the diversification process.