The National Assembly Has Made Diversification The Anchor-point Of Its Legislative Agenda – Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki says the 8th National Assembly is in tune with the diversification agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari and will cooperate with the president to ensure the set goals are achieved.

“Our dear President Buhari has laid down for us the vision for a diversified economy away from too much dependence on the volatile oil, to ensure security of our people’s lives, block revenue leakages, create employment for our people, expand our people’s economic opportunities and close the gap on our infrastructure deficit. The National Assembly has in tandem made these the vision, the anchor-point of its legislative agenda,” Saraki said in his remarks at the maiden National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER), adding, “but we know that being a mere agenda is not enough, that no mantra or talk can make this happen without commensurate purposeful action. We are determined to achieve our goal.

“Therefore, it would require that we remain focused, visionary and methodical. This is the fundamental of today’s engagement.

Speaking further, Saraki noted that in the last 14 years, Nigeria “has attempted to pursue far reaching reforms of the economy through deregulation and privatisation but this has not yielded the desired result as affected enterprises continue to underperform, unemployment continues to grow, business continued to fail in record numbers and the private sector continues to groan.

“Many have opined that the noticed failure has been occasioned by the failure of the government to work with the legislature to underpin the reform policy with institutional, regulatory and legal review on which the emerging economy will rest.

“The Nigerian business environment is today running largely on obsolete laws, weak governance framework, fragmented regulatory structures bogged down by inhibiting practices with very weak accountability mechanisms.

“This state of affairs was further illustrated in the latest World Bank Doing Business Report. Of the 189 countries reviewed, the 2016 Report places Nigeria on 179 in terms of ease of doing business, a key determinant of how a country is perceived in terms of attracting investment and conducting business. The report and other business review literatures are replete with evidence of how obsolete laws, regulations and inhibitive institutional structures are limiting Nigeria’s quest for better business environment and investment.

“How deep this problem runs, was until today, unclear. It is the need to methodically deal with this and create a new architecture for businesses to thrive in Nigeria that necessitated this project. It is for this reason that we are gathered here today. The National Assembly has launched this special economic and business environment roundtable to further interrogate this report, validate its conclusions, get the buy-in of key stakeholders in our business environment including the organised private sector, key government agencies and policy makers, regulators, the media, the civil society and other stakeholders,” Saraki said.

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