By Olusegun Lawrence Senate President Bukola Saraki has said that the biggest challenge confronting Nigeria now is the disturbing state of the economy.
He noted that the dwindling oil revenue has brought enormous shock to the economy and greatly limited the capacity of government at various levels to meet even basic commitments.
Addressing the Senate at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday, Mr. Saraki therefore, called on his colleagues to “work hard with the Executive to achieve greater clarity in policy direction and interventions.
“We shall therefore commence immediately, a review of the 2015 budget and begin now to lay down the fundamental principles that would determine the 2016 budget and the philosophy of our economy in times like this.”
He also called on the Senators to be prepared to put in the long extra hours to make up for the precious time already lost for sundry reasons.
As we resume today, we must demonstrate clearly to Nigerians that we are prepared to fulfill our mandates and put Nigeria first in all that we do, no matter how we feel about anything else.
“To behave contrary will amount to a betrayal of the confidence repose on us by our constituencies and our country as a whole,” he said.
The Senate President referred to the events of the recent past, saying “The externalized distractions we have had recently have been unhelpful but I am more than ever focused and resolute to the course of our people to provide them leadership that will ease their pain and realize their dreams.
“It is in view of this that we set for ourselves the legislative agenda committee to help us identify priorities that will have substantial impact on the lives of our people.
“In the coming days we shall be considering the report of the committee, adopt it and immediately begin the implementation of the priorities identified.
“There will be need to fast track issues- not with haste but with deliberate steps and diligence that would deliver results that can stand the test of time.
“We promised Nigerians that our actions would positively impact on their lives. This I intend to keep. In that light I will urge you my distinguished colleagues that we make priority the passing of bills that would ultimately and substantially expand our peoples’ livelihood and opportunities.
“As we await the list of ministerial nominees this week, I believe the presence of ministers will create the space for greater policy engagement with the Executive Arm of government and enable us to begin to respond in a more systematic manner to the various economic and social challenges before us, especially through our various Committees that will also be constituted soon,” Mr. Saraki said.