Lawmakers meet over economy, development

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Worried about the signs of a sliding economy, the Senate yesterday convened a retreat for critical stakeholders in the national planning and development strategy to forge a consensus on the way forward for Nigeria’s growth.

This comes as India offered to share its development strides and experiences with the most populous black nation.

India’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, in his goodwill message at the function in Abuja, listed key priority areas like agriculture, industrialisation, affordable healthcare and food security, which he noted, must be the focus of Nigeria’s national planning bid.

In his remarks, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the retreat came at the right time when “we need to prepare ourselves for the task of legislative and executive collaboration for good governance propelled by well-planned economy and development.”

Represented by Deputy Minority Whip, Sahabi Yau, Lawan stressed the need for consensus which he submitted “helps to build common grounds that Nigeria needs for development.”

He said the country’s budget ought to be based on sound national and predictable planning.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Senate National Planning Committee and convener of the event, Olawunmi Adetunbi, harped on the urgency for national planning in the face of “weaker economic signs,” adding however that the committee was determined to work with stakeholders to bring about the desired development.

Also, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and chief executive of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, advised: “We should engage with the National Economic Council to bring about a more unified plan.”

He regretted that the nation’s development indices remain low, as over 60 per cent of Nigerians are poor.

The governor identified policy environment as well as implementation of programmes and budgets as major causative factors, stating: “We must marry policy making and implementation strategies.

Besides, the House of Representatives is unhappy over the “incessant noncombatant related air crashes involving fighter planes and helicopters of the Nigeria Air Force.”

Chairman of the House Committee on Air Force, Shehu Mohammed Koko, who spoke at the opening of the investigative hearing yesterday in Abuja, pointed out that the “unfortunate development was not encouraging.”

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by the Acting House Leader, Peter Akpatason, had described the spate of crashes involving the force’s aircraft in non-combat missions that always result in loss of lives and expensive military equipment as “quite frightening.”

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