Recession: Saraki Writes Buhari, Asks President to Pick Date to Address Parliament


Anayo Okolie
In line with the resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives inviting President Muhammadu Buhari to address a joint session of the National Assembly and explain what government was doing to get the nation out of the current economic recession, Senate President Bukola Saraki has written a letter to the President to pick a date he would address the parliament, THISDAY has learnt.

The letter, which was written by the Senate President in his capacity as the chairman of the National Assembly, was sent to the State House last Thursday.

The House of Representatives had last month resolved to constitute a special ad-hoc committee to liaise with the Senate with a view to inviting President Buhari to brief a joint session of the National Assembly on the current economic downturn.

The resolution was passed following a motion sponsored by Hon. Mukaila Olayiwola Kazzim, an All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker from Ogun State, in which about 30 members contributed to the debate.

Apart from inviting the President to brief the National Assembly on the state of the economy, the House also urged the executive arm to mandate the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Finance and the National Planning Commission to review the existing monetary policy with a view to developing sustainable lending rates and the right environment that would foster real sector growth to enhance economic development.

The Senate later unanimously passed a motion in concurrence with the House of Representatives to invite the President to brief a joint session of the National Assembly.

The lawmakers had also asked President Buhari to forward an economic stimulus bill to the National Assembly on how to lead the nation out of the recession. A source told THISDAY at the weekend that as a mark of respect for the President, in the Senate President’s letter, he was asked to pick a day of his choice to address a joint session of the National Assembly in line with the resolution of the parliament.

THISDAY could however not confirm at the time of going to press whether the letter had been received by the President.

Should Buhari honour the invitation, that would be the third time he will be visiting the National Assembly, since he assumed office. Buhari had last December addressed a joint session of the National Assembly, where he spoke on the content of the 2016 budget proposal. In the first quarter of 2016, he also addressed the legislature briefly during the visit of South African President Jacob Zuma to the National Assembly.

The state of the economy had attracted the focus of the parliament since indication emerged that Nigeria was heading for recession. Key federal government officials had appeared before the parliament to brief lawmakers on efforts being made to navigate the nation’s economic ship out of recession.

For instance, in May, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun appeared before the Senate where she disclosed that that the economy was “technically in a recession” at that time. Her appearance was followed by that of the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, to explain reasons for the steady fall in the value of the naira.