The National Assembly has expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Nigerian economy despite witnessing a contraction of -6.1 percent.
The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan made the position of the NASS known when he fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja on Thursday.
Lawan, who had earlier attended the meeting of the Council of State, noted that the meeting deliberated on national issues including the way forward for the nation, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “The President called for the Council of State meeting and very important national issues were discussed.
“I want to tell you that what we have discussed were so important, especially the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and what the government is doing to keep the economy going.
“We are impressed with what we have so far achieved in the area of ensuring that the economy stays afloat, even though we have recorded a downward of about -6.1% in our economy, but that is not to say that we are in a difficult situation more than other countries.
“Even bigger, more financially buoyant and developed countries have experienced lower situations in their economies.
“Yes, we still have a long way to go, we know where we would have loved to be, but when you are faced with COVID-19, you know that this is a global pandemic and no country has been spared.
“When you compare your performance in the area of economy with other giants, more robust economies like the USA and Germany, you’ll be happy that you have experienced only -6 downturn in your economy when others have -19, others have even more, those are economies that are stronger, that have put in more resources to address the COVID-19 challenges.
“We have tried to put in what we can, but I think the secret here is we have been able to sustain what we are doing even though with lesser resources, but I think -6, as reported by the NBS, that’s the downwards turn in our GDP.
“Ordinarily we shouldn’t be happy with it, but in the current circumstance where every country is experiencing this kind of thing, South Africa, the second largest economy in Africa, is experiencing worse,’’ he said.
The Senate President also lauded the performance of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
“We looked at what the PTF has been doing in the area of ensuring that the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled and managed in Nigeria and they are doing very well.
“Most of our governors were on, though virtually, but I think there was very fantastic discussions to ensure that all those issues and many more others that were raised and other business part of the agenda, were things that will make Nigeria better today and tomorrow,’’ he added.
Lawan maintained that the country was not doing badly in spite the negative impacts of the COVID-19 on the economy.
“We are not doing badly, but that is not to say we should be complacent, I think we should continue to work on the post-COVID-19 economy that we are looking at.
“We should continue to invest to ensure that we protect the employment of our people so that our people don’t fall into joblessness.
“We should provide palliatives as much as we can for those who are so disadvantaged and require the support of the federal government,” he said.
He solicited more collaboration between all tiers of government and the legislature, so as to make life better for all Nigerians irrespective of their socio-political backgrounds.
He also called on the state and local governments to continue to support the federal government in its efforts to keep everybody afloat.
Lawan said: “I believe that even though our resources are scarce, but I think we are facing the right direction.
“For us in the National Assembly, we’ll continue to approve good policies of government, especially when it comes to areas that will touch the lives of the most ordinary man to help survive this situation and even to help him do better after the COVID-19.’’