By Damilola Adeniran
OrderPaperToday – The Senate on Tuesday resolved that fiscal authorities should “drastically” reduce domestic debts following a motion moved by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi).
Speaking during plenary, Senator Abdullahi called for caution in the wake of the news that Nigeria was out of recession. According to him, there is no room for complacency as the positive situation of the economy was still reversible.
Abdullahi said: “We recall about this time last year, we resumed from summer recess with rude shock of official declaration of the nation’s economy having fallen into recession as a result of successive two quarters of negative GDP growth.
“This event forced members into a two-day session during which a wide-range debate on the economy was undertaken that culminated in the National Assembly’s recommendation of a copious array of economic policy measures that were recommended to the Executive Arm of Government for implementation.
“Exactly one year later, it has now been officially confirmed that the economy has come out of recession following two quarters of positive growth, the last being a growth rate of 0.55% attained in June, 2017; I seize this opportunity to congratulate the national economic policy makers and managers for this great achievement, with a caveat that we should not rest on our oars.”
The lawmaker further noted that the economy’s exit out of recession has brought relative peace and stability in the Niger Delta region that facilitated increased volume of oil production, adding: “it has brought favorable international oil prices that rose from a dismal $30 per barrel to above $54per barrel, today; Relatively stable exchange rates of N360 to $(parallel) and N305 to $(official) that was achieved at a great cost to the Nation’s Central Bank;(Nearly $9billion spent to support the Naira);
“Rise of our foreign exchange reserves from about $25 Billion (2015) to above $ 34 Billion, today; Regular and sustained releases of the 2016 Capital Budget; Favorable weather condition in the last two years and the economic conditions that drove our people back to the farm, which resulted in good harvests and positive growth of our agricultural sector by over 5.0 percent,
“Maintenance of tariff policy regime that excluded over forty (40+) Exported items from access to official foreign exchange; Some measure of stability and growth in our capital market that was revitalized with CBN intervention in the Investors and Exporters foreign exchange window;”
The senate then resolved debate that “national economy managers remain focused and ensure that the current weak growth of a mere 0.55% is built upon and increased substantially in the months and years to come.
“Fiscal and monetary authorities should come together and harmonize fiscal and monetary policies with a view to drastically reducing the high interest rate that has adversely affected borrowing for investment by the real sector of the economy. Fiscal authorities should drastically reduce the accumulation of domestic debt in order to free the market for better access by the private sector.”