National Assembly meets Ahmed, Sylva, Emefiele over failing economy, 2020 budget

The leadership of the National Assembly on Wednesday met with the Federal Government on measures to cushion the effect of the raging coronavirus and crashing crude oil prices on the Nigerian economy.

At the meeting were President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele; and other heads of ministries, departments and agencies.

There, Gbajabiamila stated that the Federal Government must think creatively and come up with ways of stabilising the economy due to the negative economic impact of COVID-19.

The Speaker recalled how the House earlier on Tuesday passed the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill 2020 to complement economic interventions by the executive arm of government.

He said, “You are all aware that the House of Reps, and hopefully it will be the National Assembly, passed the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill 2020, which in our opinion goes further to complement what the executive is doing, in terms of addressing the needs of the common man.

“The tax rebate, the mortgage moratorium for three months and the reduction in duties on medical supplies that have to do with coronavirus, I’m sure Senate may reconvene at some point to pass this. Even though it is not law yet, it has come to the Senate, since some members of the executive arm are here to have this signed quickly into law.”

While welcoming stakeholders at the meeting to consider government interventions to cushion the negative economic impact of COVID-19 on the country’s economy, Lawan said the meeting was necessary due to the difficult circumstances facing the country.

He said both chambers had adjourned on Tuesday but agreed to reconvene at any time if there was an urgent need for that.

Lawan said the meeting was to deliberate on the proposed review of the 2020 budget in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

In her remarks, Ahmed applauded the House for initiating and passing the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill 2020.

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