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27 Sep 2017

$9bn Has Been Used By FG to Defend Naira - Senate Reveals

Billions of dollars has been expended in the Federal Government's bid to uphold the value of the greenback which has been faltering against the dollar.
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The Senate on Tuesday said the sum of $9 billion had been spent by the federal government to defend the naira.

It expressed worry that only 10 per cent of the N7.4 trillion 2017 budget has so far been implemented barely three months to the end of the year.

Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi) who sponsored a motion on stabilising and sustaining post recession growth of the economy, argued that the level of harmony between the fiscal and monetary policies of government remained “very low.”

He expressed frustration over the inadequate funding of the 2017 budget by the executive, fearing it could pull the country back into a recession.

Consequently, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma and the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun were both summoned to appear in plenary to explain the failure to fund the budget.

The motion was unanimously passed by the upper legislature chamber. Abdullahi tasked the national economy managers to remain focused and ensure that the current weak growth of a mere 0.55 percent is built upon and increased substantially in the months and years to come.

The Senate however, urged both the fiscal and monetary authorities to come together and harmonise policies with a view to drastically reducing the high interest rate that has adversely affected borrowing for investment by the real sector of the economy.

It called on fiscal authorities to drastically reduce the accumulation of domestic debt in order to free the market for better access by the private sector.

Senator Barau Jibril (APC, Kano State) who seconded the motion asked that the managers of the nation’s economy be put on their toes so that they would not be complacent.

He argued that the failure to release money to fund the budget had become a serious threat to the economy.

Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) claimed that “our economic managers are just joggling the economy using ways and means to manipulate it.”

According to him: “If it is true that the foreign reserve has grown from $25 billion to $34 billion, why are we incapacitated in funding the 2017 budget? We must say the truth. We must go back to the drawing board and take key decisions. We must engage in massive production and we must engage in massive spending too. What we have done is not a geniune approach to addressing the problem of the economy and getting outbof recession.”

Senator Biodun Olujumi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Ekiti State while noting that Nigeria is only technically out of recession but still languishing in economic quagmire, lamented that barely three months to the end of the year, the 2017 budget had not recorded 10 per cent implementation.

She said the major problem is that the economic managers were yet to develop a viable economic blue print.

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