The Honourable Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the shutdown of commercial activities initiated at home and abroad, to curb community transmission of Covid-19 has devastated the global economy which the House have already begun to see the effect in millions of lost jobs, lost incomes, lost revenue and severely diminished productivity.
Speaking while addressing the House at the emergency session to review the Federal Government of Nigeria’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and related matters in Abuja on Tuesday, he said in the past week, Nigeria oil prices fall into negative value. “Our country, heavily dependent on crude oil income, has seen a drop in our revenue so severe that we risk failing to meet even the most basic obligations of governance”. He noted that the social welfare demands on the public purse are higher than they have ever been.
“Our present reality calls for nothing short of a wholesale reform of our governing structures, systems and processes. Any such efforts must of necessity, begin with drastic reductions in the cost of governance coupled with determined efforts to drive economic diversity and innovation in the non-oil sector. “It is in preparing for this new reality that I have established a Covid-19 Strategic Response Team (CRST) with a broad mandate to develop interventions and reforms and also to update the Legislative Agenda to reflect our post-Covid realities and priorities.
The Strategic Response Team will be supported by a group of technical experts, private sector leaders and representatives”, he said. He added that their experience and expertise will ensure that the policy proposals presented to the House are rigorously grounded in a fact-based reality. “There are no longer any sacred cows, protected spaces or classes. Every area of our national health policy, economic policy, tax policy, education policy and security architecture are now on the table for reform.
“We must turn this moment of profound crises into an opportunity to make the hard choices we have too long deferred but can now no longer avoid if we are to survive as a nation. This House of Representatives is ready, and I trust that we will find allies in government and across our country who are prepared to make the changes that our country needs to survive, recover and thrive”, he said.