• Worried about implementation of 2017 budget
The Senate has supported the Federal Government’s ban on the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).It also advised that all groups seeking to pursue any agitation should do so through the constitutional means.
This resolution was announced by the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki.The Senate spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi Sabi, told journalists after plenary yesterday that IPOB through the extant law has been proscribed.
He said the legal process has been complied with in the terrorism act as the Attorney- General, Abubakar Malami, has done the needful.He said: “For us, that law itself is based on our constitution. So, what we are saying here is if the Federal Government has taken the legal process to proscribe IPOB, as far as the Senate is concerned, that is the law of the land until a court of competent jurisdiction says otherwise.”
In another development, the Senate has also reshuffled the leadership of some committees.Senator Andy Ubah, representing Anambra central, who was Chairman, Public Accounts now heads Committee on Interior.
Senator Sabo Mohammed, Chairman, Committee on Trade and Investment; Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Chairman, Committee on Public Accounts; Senator Raji Rasaki, Chairman, Committee on Culture and Tourism; Senator Adeola Olamilekan, Chairman, Local Content; Senator Stella Isiah, Chairman, Corporation and Integration and Senator Bukar Mustapha.
Capital Market Development.The Senate also reviewed the performance of the economy and told the executive to increase funding of the 2017 budget to avoid the economy from sliding back into recession.
The upper legislative chamber specifically expressed dismay that $9 billion has been lost in the name of stabilising the value of the naira.It expressed worries that only about ten per cent of the N7.4 trillion budget has been implemented so far with barely three months to the end of the year.
It therefore summoned the Ministers of Finance as well as Budget and National Planning, Kemi Adeosun and Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, to explain the non-release of money to fund the budget.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of Information in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Patricia Deworitshe said the Federal Government has, to date, released N336 billion from the 2017 budget to Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for funding of capital projects in the first quarter of 2017.
Two separate motions passed yesterday on the issues of recession and budget implementation raised critical questions about the genuineness of government’s intention in reviving the national economy.
Senator Yahaya Abdullahi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Kebbi State who sponsored the motion tagged “Stabilizing and sustaining post recession growth of the economy” said the level of harmony between the fiscal and monetary policies of government is still very low.
The motion, which was unanimously passed, lamented that “relatively stable exchange rates of N365 to the dollar (parallel) and N305 to the dollar (official) was achieved at a great cost to the nation,” adding that “the Central Bank of Nigeria has spent nearly $9 billion to support the naira.”