Senate President Bukola Saraki has said the Senate, after its recess, will invite some senior officials in the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to explain the recession in the economy and the way out of the prevailing economic hardship in the country.
Saraki, who spoke to newsmen in Ilorin on Tuesday, stated that the Senate would subsequently advise Buhari to take necessary action against any political appointees and managers of the economy, who had been found incompetent or wanting.
He argued that no measure would be considered too big to take to ensure that the nation’s economy improved.
Saraki added that the search for the solutions to the nation’s economic recession should go beyond party and ethnic affiliations.
The Senate President stated, “Any country that finds itself in this situation needs to come up with solutions that will address and help its people to come out of it. That means that it is a collective responsibility of all tiers of government.
“Recession or hardship does not know party. It does not select whether you are a member of the Peoples Democratic Party or the All Progressives Congress; or select whether you are from one part of the country or the other. It is the entire country and as such, it must be a collective responsibility to address it.
“The question we should ask those who are managing the economy is ‘how did we get it wrong? What are the indices that should have come up?’ One of the indices I think is confidence. There is a lack of confidence in the economy. Whether we like to accept it or not, people are not investing and bringing in money. Without that, we would have challenges.
“These are the areas that when the Senate resumes, we will have a robust debate. We will bring all those who are responsible to tell us what happened and I can assure Nigerians that we will not cover up anybody; we will let Nigerians know the truth.
“We will ensure that solutions are found and where people are not capable of delivering, we will advise the President accordingly on what needs to be done. This matter has gone beyond man-know-man. It is an issue that affects everybody and nobody is too big to be sacrificed in this process.”
Saraki argued that the current hardship in the country should be the most severe since he had been in the nation’s political arena.
“People are truly suffering, it requires us to step up as leaders in finding solutions. There has to be a solution. It is not insurmountable. Yes, sacrifices need to be made but they are already made, in my view.
“What needs to be done is for us to tackle it collectively. This is the time we should lay less emphasis on different political parties and put emphasis on who has the solutions,” he said.
The Senate President said those who were responsible for the nation’s economic woes must be held accountable.
He stated that there should be no excuses, adding that the nation’s leadership must address the national challenge.
Saraki added, “Those who are technically responsible for the economy, we will make sure we hold them accountable. If there are other people that can do better, who are not there (in office), we will look for them because at a time like this, when there is recession, anywhere in any part of the world, you must all come together; whoever that may help us to find solutions.
“This is the time we really need unity and cooperation. This is the time we must support the government to find solutions. This is the time for the government to reach out to everybody that will help us to get out of recession. Politics is about your people and your people are in pain, you must also be in pain and not stop until that pain stops.”
He said Nigeria had yet to derive any gain from the devaluation of the naira, adding that some other support policies were not executed to ensure that the country was truly a free market economy to elicit foreign direct investments.
Saraki explained that it was needful to address high interest rate in the country, arguing that if the government had been borrowing from banks at 17 per cent, the banks would find it unattractive to lend to the private sector that should rather stimulate the economy at a lower rate.
He believed that dialogue should be adopted to address the militancy in the Niger Delta, noting that the country had lost huge revenue as a result of the violence in the oil-rich region.
The Senate President, while commending the Federal Government and security agencies for the progress so far made in the fight against Boko Haram, said the government should intensify efforts to rescue the remaining Chibok girls, who are still in the Boko Haram captivity.
Saraki argued that the friction between the executive and the legislature was counterproductive, noting that greater emphasis should be placed on revamping Nigeria’s economy than dissipating energy on a face-off between the two arms of government.
He added that prosecuting members of the National Assembly over minor issues which he considered were not of public interest, was unnecessary.
Saraki advised Nigerians to stop making heroes of corrupt people, but rather collaborate on genuine efforts of the government to address corruption.