SENATORS THUMBS DOWN ON TINUBU’S ECONOMIC STRATEGY, SAY IT’S NOT WORKING
Senators on Friday, at a meeting with President Bola Tinubu’s economic team in Abuja, lamented the prevailing economic crisis in the country.
Taking turns to question the economic policy and performance of the federal government, the lawmakers lambasted the FG’s strategy, stressing that it wasn’t working.
Taking the lead, Senator Sani Musa (APC, Niger) regretted that there was “A lot of lapses in the economy, including rising inflation; 70 percent of Nigerians can’t boast of 3 square meal.”
He also lamented that unemployment is at about 37 percent, adding that “hunger is poverty and this leads to a spike in insecurity. We must tell ourselves, these policies of government are not working.
Why would you allow your foreign exchange to skyrocket? This is never done.”
On insecurity, he said investors would definitely shun Nigeria as an investment destination.
“How many foreign direct investments have we attracted as a country, many companies have divested from the country,” he maintained.
On previous loans, he said that the National Assembly has approved foreign loans for the government but they have not reflected on the economy.
“We have taken a lot of loans, repatriated looted funds from abroad into the country but cannot say what the money was used for,” he stressed.
He further asked the effects of the $3.3 loan taken by the government to cushion the effect of the volatility of foreign exchange, even as he berated spending as huge as N33 trillion on Ways and Means.
He said, “we are just printing money. He said this will surely increase at the end of the year if it remains at 9 percent rate.”
On his part, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia) lamented that manufacturing and farming sectors are dead with bandits and herdsmen taking over farms .
He said the CBN should stop the dollarisation of the economy.
He called for the abolition of dollar transactions in the country. He said in South Africa nobody buys anything with Dollar, as he asked what the CBN will do to encourage foreign direct investment.
Continuing, Sen. Ostia Izunaso said the CBN has no capacity to track the currency, adding that while there is scarcity of cash in banks, billions of naira are stashed in private homes.
He said CBN give dollars to commercial banks but they engage in illicit transaction with those who mop up the dollar and create artificial scarcity in the market
“No liquidity in the system, the CBN should apply for a bailout from the World Bank,” he added.
While asking the CBN to answer how much of foreign loans has been approved by the National Assembly, Sen. Adamu Aliero questioned how much has been accessed, and how much has been allocated to sectors for which they were obtained?
He said Nigeria has capacity for food sufficiency, therefore, there is no excuse for food importation, as Sen. Olamilekan Adeola, charged the CBN to start its avowed transparency by promptly submitting its budget proposals to the National Assembly.
He castigated the CBN for playing an extra-judicial role such as committing much of the nation’s funds to the anchor borrower scheme, stating that “the CBN has suddenly become the largest producer of rice in the country.”He said it will be highly appreciated if the CBN can be truly transparent.