The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, last week, stated that at 63, Nigeria should not be relying on loans.
We tracked two other stories from the National Assembly (NASS), within the week under review.
1. Kalu on Nigeria’s debt trap
On October 7, Kalu asserted that Nigeria should stop depending on loans.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ dialogue on the implementation of Section 45 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, in Lagos, Kalu, represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Loans and Debt Management, Nalaraba Abubakar, claimed that previous governments executed budgets through unsustainable loans.
The Deputy Speaker’s statement serves as a sad reminder of the long years of Nigeria’s economic mismanagement. It is also an indirect indictment on the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari, who has severally been accused of dragging the country further into debt through excessive borrowing.
Kalu, and his fellow lawmakers, however, should also bow their heads in shame for tacitly encouraging the former administration to do as it pleased with the economy.
Indeed, it is easy to see through his crocodile tears as signals point to the fact that APC-dominated legislature may continue to indulge the incumbent, President Tinubu.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“Since our president has emerged and I put that challenge to each Igbo man today in Nigeria, 70 percent – 80 percent of them derive their wealth from the legacy that the president has left in Lagos.”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
2. Stopping use of Dollar for domestic transactions
The House of Representatives, on October 10, moved to embark on a thorough investigation of the use of Dollar, and other foreign currencies in Nigeria as a legal tender for domestic transactions.
The resolution was a sequel to a motion moved by Hon. Ismail Dabo during plenary in Abuja. In his contribution to the motion, Hon. Ademorin Kuye stated: “Today, if you want to fly foreign airlines, they charge you dollars. In some high-end markets, particularly the real-estate, they charge you dollars. This is criminal.”
The alleged use of foreign currencies signposts a near loss of confidence in the Naira as a store of value, and shows the downside of the hurried pronouncements by Tinubu on the economy.
Again, the charge by lawmakers does feel like mere grandstanding given that as an appendage of the leadership structure, it remains guilty for turning the other eye while the custodians of the treasury played politics instead of managing the Naira.
3. Ensuring better working conditions for teachers
On October 5, the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, appealed to the federal, state and local governments “to ensure better working conditions for teachers across Nigeria.”
“I also pledge to use my good offices to promote all pro-people legislations that will boost living conditions of our teachers across the federation,” a statement from Bamidele read.
Bamidele’s appeal affirms the much-talked about bad working conditions that Nigerian teachers at all levels have been immersed in over the years – conditions such as poor salary, lack of adequate and standard teaching infrastructure, among others, which have contributed in making the profession unattractive, and the teachers less-motivated.
It is left to be seen if the Senate Leader was merely playing to the gallery with his promises.
Answer: Senator Ifeanyi Ubah
Ubah made the statement on October 12, 2023, after he was officially received into the caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), having defected from the Young Progressives Party (YPP), in Abuja. He represents Anambra South Senatorial District in the NASS.
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