Senate President Bukola Saraki has said current economic challenges facing the country present an opportunity to show leadership, courage and ingenuity. The situation should be used to set the stage for a post-oil era in which the private sector steers the ship of the economy while the government provides the enabling environment, he said.
Speaking when consultants, under the auspices of the Department for International Development (DFID), came to present a-168 page report titled: Comprehensive Review of the Institutional Regulatory, Legislative and Associated Instruments Affecting Businesses in Nigeria to both chambers of the National Assembly in Abuja, Saraki said the time has come for the ruling class to show leadership and courage in addressig the economic challenges facing the nation.
Earlier, the experts had told the legislators that 54 of the country’s existing laws have to be either amended or repealed if the country is to make progress in her quest to attract investors and become business-friendly.
Saraki said: “The National Assembly through our legislative agenda seized on the moment to chart a new course for the nation’s economy. The legislative agenda we have adopted is one framed largely around good governance, accountability, opening up of the economy for greater investment, ease of doing business and security of lives and property.”
He added that the 8th National Assembly would give priority to the amendment of obsolete laws, stressing that since some of the affected laws require constitutional amendment, the process would be expedited to ensure that all stakeholders concerned make the changes happen as soon as possible.
Saraki said the collaboration with the private sector, development partners, professional groups such as the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) as well as the academia in on-going process to review laws affecting doing business will give birth to a new business environment that will boost the economy, solve the problem of unemployment, curb social vices and restore our national values and pride.
According to him, the Senate and House of Representatives are on the same page with President Muhammed Buhari’s policy on diversification of the economy. “Our President has laid out a vision to fully diversify the economy beyond oil and has been committed to the actualisation of the project.
“The overarching objective of the agenda targets private sector investment and business development as a major plank of the plan. This is because of our belief in the ingenuity, creativity, entrepreneurship of our people and that in order to create jobs, give our people better opportunities, the private sector remains our best option.
“This is at the heart of the clamour for diversification; from agriculture business support, to credit, economic reform bills, to MSMEs, taxation, conflict resolution, regulatory reform bills, our agenda is firmly rooted on increased participation, diversification and capital formation,” Saraki assured.
He said the collaborative efforts between the National Assembly, DFID enable programme and GEM3, with strong participation of the organised private sector led by the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) represents a first of its kind adding that the Senate has come out with a detailed plan, cohesive legislative agenda for renewed national cohesion and development.